I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Clytemnestra's Bind by Susan C. Wilson
Published by Neem Tree Press on 15 June 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Blog Tour Organisser
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The House of Atreus is spiralling into self-destruction - a woman must find a way to break the family curse.
Queen Clytemnestra's world shatters when Agamemnon, a rival to the throne of Mycenae, storms her palace, destroys her family and claims not only the throne but Clytemnestra herself. Tormented by her loss, she vows to do all she can to protect the children born from her unhappy marriage to Agamemnon. But when her husband casts his ruthless gaze towards the wealthy citadel of Troy, his ambitions threaten to once more destroy the family Clytemnestra loves.
From one of Greek mythology's most reviled characters - a woman who challenged the absolute power of men - comes this fiery tale of power, family rivalry and a mother's burning love.
Clytemnestra’s Bind is intensely moving. It’s a masterclass in beautiful writing.
Sometimes you just pick up a book and you end up having the most wonderful time with it. Fascinating characters that remind you just how thankful you are in your own life. Greek mythology is renowned for its rich and fantastical world-building, featuring a complex pantheon of gods, goddesses, heroes, and mythical creatures. Susan C. Wilson has excelled at this with this stunning story about Clytemnestra.
She is one of my favourite figures in Greek mythology. Her complex and tragic role in the Trojan War was deeply heartbreaking. Having her daughter sacrificed their daughter to the goddess, Artemis, to provide safe passage to Troy. The deep feminine rage you feel for her is real. This was what I was referring about before in regard to being thankful for the circumstances in your own life. Woman were treated appallingly, even those of royal blood.
The author has documented the hardships and trauma that Clytemnestra has endured. Wilson has phenomenal characterisation skills, her visage appeared in my head like a fever dream, the mythical figure appearing through the fog, her beauty on show for all to see. There is just something so mesmerising about this story. It’s what historical fiction should be and should aspire to be. It makes you fall in love with history, it makes you ache to learn more. It makes you search out all the material you can regarding that character (yes, that was me. Clytemnestra, is a character we can learn so much from.)
The opening of the book is brutal and raw, it sets up the story exceedingly well. Greek Mythology is brutal, so it was in keeping with that. The mortals struggled with keeping the deities happy and balancing that with everyday conflicts. I do want to express that Wilson’s take on this retelling is completely unique – I really wasn’t expecting what I got.
Motherhood can be an overused trope especially in historical fiction, whether that be how motherhood differs in mythology, how mothers adapt, this really gave us a feel of how motherhood was in mythical times. I loved that Wilson zeroed in on her children – Iphigenia, Elektra, and Orestes. I really related to her in those moments and made the story take on a real layer of everyday life. The story had a real heartbeat and that came from Clytemnestra.
Susan C Wilson is a working-class Scottish writer. Her lifelong passion for ancient Greece was ignited as a child by stumbling across stories of gods and heroes in the dictionary. She loves to explore what makes us human: the eternal motivations, desires and instincts that cross time and place.
She has a degree in journalism from Napier University and, in preparation for writing her novels, gained a diploma in classical studies from the Open University. Clytemnestra’s Bind, her debut novel, was long-listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition 2019. It is the first in The House of Atreus trilogy and will be published by Neem Tree Press in June 2023.