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"Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there."
- Thomas Berger
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'Penelope's Daughter' by Laurel Corona

Penelope's Daughter: Reviews


"Born after her famous father, Odysseus, followed Menelaus to Troy to bring the city to its knees and Helen home to Sparta, Xanthe enjoyed an idyllic childhood. As the years passed, however, and Odysseus failed to return home to his kingdom of Ithaca, his wife, Penelope, was forced to endure an invasion of suitors hoping to win her hand and the kingdom. Still, Xanthe was not in personal danger until she reached age 11 and was deemed old enough to wed, by force if necessary. Sent to live with Penelope’s cousin, Xanthe spends her youth in hiding. There is no mention of a daughter in Homer's epic poem, nor is there historical evidence that Odysseus and Penelope had a second child, but as the Greeks with whom Corona spoke during her extensive research said, ’If it makes a good story, why not?’ VERDICT Corona's second historical novel (The Four Seasons) is indeed a good story—well researched, filled with strong, fully developed female characters, and an insightful look at the secret lives of the women of ancient Greece during an era that was pretty much all about the men. Sure to attract readers of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent and Pilate's Wife by Antoinette May."

Library Journal, Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK


"...Laurel Corona's new historical novel, 'Penelope's Daughter,' provides some fascinating answers in a story that cleverly parallels Homer's epic poem." More...

— North County Times

"The Iliad, The Odyssey, and other Greek myths inform and enrich Corona’s (The Four Seasons) fanciful first-millennium tapestry of Xanthe, the daughter of Odysseus, king of the Cephallenians, born on the island of Ithaca to Penelope after Odysseus embarked on his mystical journey. With Penelope’s legendary husband missing for more than 20 years, Xanthe must come of age sheltered from those who would usurp the kingdom, force her and her mother into marriage, and kill her brother, the heir to the kingdom. As a precaution, her mother fakes Xanthe's death and sends her to Sparta, where her cousin, the fabled Helen of Troy, can better protect her. There, Xanthe learns the mysteries of Bronze Age womanhood and witnesses an attempt on Helen's life, possibly made by her own daughter, the bitter Hermione. Xanthe becomes involved with the son of the king of Phylos, but the gods decide she should return to Ithaca while there's still hope that her father will return and peace may prevail. This variant and dreamy confection of Greek mythology and romance achieves, thanks to Xanthe's first-person account, a great deal of intimacy."

— Publishers Weekly

"This novel revisits the story of the Trojan War and its aftermath. As it opens, the war has long ended, and the family of the missing Odysseus is still awaiting his return. Daughter Xanthe is left under the care of servants. She has barricaded herself in her room as a protection against unwanted suitors, passing the time by weaving. The story unfolds as she works at her loom, the designs serving as a framework to her tale. As Xanthe shares her history of ancient Greece, a complex picture emerges. Though the war has ended, the people of Ithaca are still immersed in a battle for their future. In Homer’s saga, women who once wept for their lost men are given the voice and power they deserve. In Corona’s tale, women turn a tragedy into opportunity, finding a way to thrive in a world full of men. Penelope’s Daughter provides new insight into the lives of Homer’s women while giving voice to the inventiveness, creativity, and ingenuity of all those left behind."

— Booklist

"Readers may be charmed by this story and yet find it controversial." Read more of this review.

— San Diego Jewish World

"Well-crafted adult modern literature about and for women." Read more of this review.


Years ago in high school I was forced to read the Iliad and/or the Odyssey... I retained nothing from the story though. Luckily for Homer, here comes Laurel Corona breathing new life into the age old tale, with her story of Penelope’s Daughter. Read more of this review.

— The Burton Review

"I honestly must say, I don't know much about Greek Myths... but I really enjoyed reading Penelope’s Daughter." More...


"If you are a fan of The Odyssey you are sure to enjoy the events that transpire in this book." More...

— The Maiden's Court

"This was my first read by Laurel Corona, but you can be bet I will be back for more! Penelope’s Daughter was one phenomenal book and I highly recommend it!" More...

— Passages to the Past

Combining romance, action and adventure, Penelope’s Daughter is a wonderful book crafted a talent that almost anyone would enjoy!" More...

— Coy M., Luxury Reading


"Laurel Corona brings Homer’s epic to life in this spectacular novel of the ancient world. Populated with a rich cast of characters—from Helen of Troy to Odysseus—this is a novel you won’t want to put down."

—Michelle Moran
best-selling author of Nefertiti

"A beautiful excursion into the realms of The Odyssey, with some surprises Homer didn’t know about."

Margaret George
New York Times best-selling author of Helen of Troy

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