6 September 2016

Review #520: For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.”


Emily Hauser, an English author, has penned a stirring debut historical fiction, For The Most Beautiful where the author has weaved the infamous Greek mythological tale of Trojan War through the voice of two female characters, who lose a great deal and fight some complex battles, to save their city of Troy. Also watched from the mountains are the gods who are controlling the war.


Three thousand years ago a war took place that gave birth to legends - to Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. It was a war that made - and destroyed - both men, a war that shook the very foundations of the world. But what if there was more to this epic conflict? What if there was another, hidden tale of the Trojan War that had yet to be told?

Now is that time - time for the women of Troy to tell their story.

Thrillingly imagined and startlingly original, For the Most Beautiful reveals the true story of true for the first time. The story of Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans' High Priest, and of Briseis, princess of Pedasus, who fight to determine the fate of a city and its people in this ancient time of mischievous gods and mythic heroes.

In a novel full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, bravery and sacrifice, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of the greatest legends of all - in a story that has waited millennia to be told.

The soul reason behind Trojan war is because of Paris who presented a golden apple to the god of love, Aphrodite, he was gifted with the most beautiful woman in this world, Helen, the wife of the Spartan king, Menelaus. So Paris steals her from the king, thereby enraging the king, who then declares war on the city of Troy. And the story actually begins with the lives of two most beautiful woman of Troy, Krisayis, the daughter of high Priest and a friend to princess, Cassandra, and Briseis, princess and wife of the prince of Lyrnessus. Krisayis is soon going to become a High Priestess against her own will as she only wants and longs for the love of Troilus, brother of Cassandra and together they plan an escape from the city, but eventually gets captured and taken hostage in the Greek camp. Briseis is happy in the love and comfort of her newly wed husband, but the ruthless Prince Achilles murders her husband and holds her captive in the Greek Camp. And when these two unfortunate women's paths cross for the first time, together they can save the fate of the kingdom of Troy? But the gods watching the whole war up above from the mountains have a different plan in store for these two women.

Having read Judith Starkson's Hand of Fire, I was struck by Briseis' painful life, and that is when I got to know the war of Trojan with so much depth, and now another another, Emily Hauser, has once again brought alive the infamous Trojan War with her eloquent words in her debut book. The story is told in a breathless way yet somehow it lacked lustre. The has fictionalized the lives of two forgotten women who played an equally important role in the war that changed the course of history.

The author's writing is really articulate as well as emphatic and is laced with so much emotions that the readers will find themselves losing in the emotional turbulence going on in the hearts of the two brave yet sorrowful characters. The narratives are not that productive or engaging enough to keep the readers glued, but with a smooth pace of the story line, the readers will sway from the first page to the last in no time.

The author has captured the beauty of Troy magnificently that the readers will visualize the backdrop right in the comfort of their own homes or wherever they will read this book. The city of Troy is vividly painted by the author with bright hues of colors clashed with the minute descriptions of the streets, the fashion, the culture, the religion, the superstitions, the rule and the grand architecture. The readers will be transported to this enchanting location within no time.

The characters of this book are extremely interesting and the author has depicted them right from her heart, complete with their evocative demeanor. The two main characters, Krisayis and Briseis are really well developed, their honest voice and their struggles and pain will deeply move the readers and their hurdles on their way will make the readers rooting for them till the very end. These two characters are projected with their flaws, sorrow, joys and strength and the journey that the author depicted is quite heart touching as well as intriguing enough to keep the readers glued till the very last page. The rest of the supporting characters, especially, the gods and the male characters are not well etched out or projected, as they will feel very dull o the readers.

In a nutshell, this is an exciting, enticing yet poignant retake on the remarkable Trojan war told from the perspective of two females who changed the course of the war with their power.

Verdict: A promising and satisfying read and a must read for the historical fiction readers!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author as well as her publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Born in Brighton and brought up in Suffolk, EMILY HAUSER studied Classics at Cambridge, where she was taught by Mary Beard. She then went to Harvard on a Fulbright Scholarship, and now studies and teaches at Yale, where she is completing her PhD. For the Most Beautiful – the first book in a trilogy based on the myths of the Golden Apples – is her debut novel.
Visit her here

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