Beauty's Daughter: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy
BEAUTY'S DAUGHTER: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy is the tale of the fictional Helen of Troy, told in first person by her daughter Hermione. Helen was thought to be the most beautiful woman in the world, and her shadow constantly eclipses Hermione’s world.
When Menelaus, Hermione’s father, leaves to attend his grandfather’s funeral, her mother runs off with their house-guest Paris, son of King Priam of Troy. Helen takes her infant son with her but leaves Hermione behind. Hermione is devastated by her mother’s desertion, but she soldiers bravely on.
"Author Carolyn Meyer used her imagination to conjure up this tale of Hermione’s life, using many references from other works to keep the story in historical perspective. The result is a very readable and very enjoyable tale of love, betrayal, heartbreak and triumph."
On his return, Menelaus returns to find his wife missing. He vows to get her back, by force if necessary. He gathers up allies who will help him fight for his wife’s release. He needs many ships filled with warriors to rage a battle against Troy. Hermione is to be left behind with relatives, but she can’t stand that idea, so she sneaks on board the ship the concubines sail on. She stays hidden from her father until they reach Troy; by then, it is too late for her to be sent back home.
King Priam refuses to release Helen, so Menelaus declares war against him, which triggers the start of the long Trojan War. According to a prediction by the god Calchas, the battle will rage into the 10th year. And it does, with Menelaus as the final victor. Helen goes home with her husband, but Hermione does not return to her homeland.
Rather, unbeknownst to her, her parents have offered her hand in marriage to Pyrrhus, Achilles' son. Achilles was a good man, but Hermione does not want to marry his son, as Pyrrhus has a reputation for cruelty. Hermione loathes him. She is in love with her cousin Orestes. The two had pledged their love together before the lovers Paris and Helen ran off with each other. After the war ended, Hermione planned on finding Orestes and marrying him at long last.
But as usual, the course of true love does not run smoothly. Hermione is forced to marry Pyrrhus and Orestes is now lost to her. Or so it seems.
Historians disagree about the existence of Helen of Troy. Regardless of her historical stature, this is the fictionalized story of Helen and the mythical world of Greek gods and mortals. There have been many stories written about the various gods and goddesses and their interactions with the mortals of Greece and Rome, but very little mention has been made about Hermione, Helen’s daughter. Author Carolyn Meyer used her imagination to conjure up this tale of Hermione’s life, using many references from other works to keep the story in historical perspective. The result is a very readable and very enjoyable tale of love, betrayal, heartbreak and triumph.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on October 17, 2013