Book Notification

Laura Shepperson Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Phaedra / The Heroines (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Heir of Venus (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Laura Shepperson
Laura Shepperson is the author of the instant Sunday Times Bestseller, “The Heroines/Phaedra”.

“Phaedra” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2023. A powerful feminist retelling of Phaedra and her unyielding quest to get justice. The novel examines this story from Phaedra’s perspective and turns the story right on its head. She demands justice for the suffering and helplessness, felt not just be herself, but for abused women everywhere.

Phaedra has been cast aside all of her life: sister of a monster, daughter of an adultress, and is now the unwilling bride to Theseus, the much older and power hungry man after he slayed the Minotaur. Naive, idealistic, and young, she has just accepted her lot in life, resigned to merely existing under the sinister weight of Theseus’ control and the constant watchful eye of Hippolytus, her handsome stepson. He is a talented horseman, prince, and a promising noble with his entire life ahead of him.

After a supposedly pious Hippolytus assaults her, her world gets darkened in the face of prideful and untouchable power. In the face of injustice, Phaedra refuses to remain quiet about it any longer: a truth this awful demands to be brought to light. Phaedra publicly accuses Hippolytus of rape, she sets off this undue reckoning.

The men in Athens gather together in order to determine the truth of the matter. All the while, the women in the city (who do not get a vote in this matter) are gathering in the shadows. The women know that the truth is a slippery thing in men’s hands. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard. Up until now.

Transportive, timely, and unflinching, Laura’s “Phaedra” carves open long-accepted wounds in order to give voice to one of the most maligned figures in all of mythology and offers up a shocking tale about how truth bends under patriarchy’s weight yet can get broken open by the force of a single woman’s bravery.

This is a skillfully woven and compelling story, and challenges the silencing of female voices with this furious and urgent reimagining of a number of unlikely Classical stories. Laura delivers a heartbreaking, thrilling, and menacing story that is an ancient tale for our modern times. It’s so gripping that the pages almost turn themselves. Readers were gripped throughout this original and relevant retelling which gives agency and voice to women whose stories have just been a subplot in myth or have stayed unheard for such a long time.

This is a feminist retelling which subverts the most enduring myth there is: that women are to blame for the violence that gets exacted on them and are the cause of their own suffering. Laura does not flinch in her retelling of Phaedra’s story. This novel, which is entirely original, wholly eschews romance, and never seeks to mollify the male reader. But instead, the author holds steadfast in her unpicking of the age-old misogynistic narrative that says women are weak, duplicitous, and conniving. One chapter after another she posits that this is how it really is, can you deny it? It’s a welcome reimagining which left some readers at once furious and satisfied.

Readers found themselves being enthralled by the variety of view points and voices that told this story, and every character is so well drawn and distinctive. There’s the bard, who alters his story after he notices that his audience jeers at Phaedra’s appearances in the story, yet cheers for her rapist. Then there’s the sly, self serving and world weary Medea (Phaedra’s cousin) that got stuck in exile in Athens after she killed her kids in Corinth. And there’s the voices of the women of Athens, that get used and abused each night by the men that are all described as heroes in the classical texts, who are so effective and realistic, when they all turn on Phaedra for making all of their problems much worse.

All of the tension is building toward this explosive and heart rending finale, and it’s tough to put the book down. Laura pulls from the original myths themselves, and compellingly asks for us to consider how our own understanding is influenced by who it is telling the story, and why.

A stark contrast between gender roles gets explored rather thoroughly in the novel, showing just how different expectations and beliefs were between women and men during this point in history. The challenging subject matter makes this emotionally difficult and uncomfortable to read at certain points, which evokes feelings and gets you thinking critically, the hallmarks of any piece of good literature.

Laura’s enthralling debut novel mines the Greek myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus to revisionist and luminous effect, and gives a voice to the long silenced stories of Athenian women. It brings this story a fresh twist to an old myth, and readers are still excited to add it to their mythology collection.

“The Heir of Venus” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2024. To the rest of the world he is a legend, but to her he is a liar. This feminist retelling of Greek legend reimagines the tale of Aeneas and the women that he once left at the fringes of his story.

Lavinia never asked to be fought over. However her childhood sweetheart has now waged a war which threatens to destroy everything that she holds dear, and all because Lavinia’s dad has promised her to someone else: Aeneas.

Aeneas, who is rumored to be Venus’ son, is famed for his cunning, bravery, and his vision for a new great Empire. He’s also slippery, secretive, and Lavinia wonders why he will never discuss the past that he left behind.

So when this stranger shows up in the camp with tales about Aeneas which suggest that he is not what he appears to be, Lavinia realizes that she must take her future, and that of her people, into her own hands.

With an inquisitive eye cast back on mythology and striking prose, this is a relatable and impactful tale about a fight for the truth, set in the rich world of Greek mythology.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Laura Shepperson

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