As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

ARIADNE gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

“What I did not know was that I had hit upon the truth of womanhood: however blameless a life we led, the passions and the greed of men could bring us to ruin, and there was nothing we could do.”⁠

I absolutely adored this book, it was everything I hoped it would be and more. They way the author writes these forgotten women of history was just incredible. I was fascinating to read Adriane’s point of view but also to see some of the other women of history depicted in a different light.⁠

This was very easy to follow despite not having an in depth knowledge of Greek mythology, everything that needed explaining was described in a clear way without being to simplified or on the flip side not being overly wordy. ⁠

The characters were brought to life on the page in a way that was tender and heart-breaking and so many lines really spoke to me, “I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing make make me doubt the value of myself.” The story touches on many aspects of female life that remain relevant today: unfaithful spouses, innocence of children, jilted lovers, unhappy marriages, maternal bliss, postpartum depression and the list continues.⁠

If you loved Circe or even just books about fierce women then this is going to be a must have for your shelves!

Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology,
Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She
spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love
of literature and creative writing with her students. ARIADNE is
her first novel and she is working on another retelling of ancient
myth for her second. @jennysaint

Jennifer Saint on her inspiration for the novel:

The inspiration for Ariadne first sparked when I was at university and studied the
Roman poet Ovid for the first time. When I read the Heroides, a collection of
letters written by the women of myth to the men who had wronged them in various
ways, I was captivated by seeing these familiar stories from a different perspective.
Ariadne writes a powerful letter to Theseus after she has given him the clue to
lead him safely from the Labyrinth, lair of the Minotaur, betraying her father and
kingdom to do so. Her younger sister Phaedra writes a letter of her own, full of
clever rhetoric and persuasion and we see that they are intelligent and passionate
women trying to carve out their own destiny in a world where the odds are stacked
against them. Years later, I would read my children the Greek myths I had always
loved and I was reminded of Ovid when I came to the story of the Minotaur in
which Ariadne’s crucial role was reduced to a couple of sentences in the background
of Theseus’ legend. I felt that Ariadne deserved her own voice and I wanted to put
her in the spotlight where she belongs.
Although Phaedra had her own individual story, I also wanted to explore the
relationship between the sisters and how growing up in the shadow of the Minotaur
shaped their experiences. I felt that the myths I had encountered about Ariadne and
Phaedra were focused on the men in their lives and I wanted to make their sisterhood
central in my book. The richness and complexity of female relationships, especially
that of sisters, is so interesting and the two sisters of the Minotaur, whose fates
were so devastatingly interlinked, offered such a compelling story that I was really
excited by the idea of telling it.

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