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Natalie Haynes Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Great Escape (2007)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Furies / The Amber Fury (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Children of Jocasta (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Thousand Ships (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Ancient Guide to Modern Life (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Natalie Haynes
Natalie Haynes is a fiction, classics, and suspense author. She is also an accomplished comedian, broadcaster, and journalist. For many years, Haynes was a panelist for the Newsnight Review, Front Row, and Saturday Review. She was also a judge in the Orange Prize in 2012 and the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Some of her most notable works include The Good Book and The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, which became a series in 2010 and were translated to Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese. Haynes was a stand-up comedian until 2009 when she retired after 12 years of service to focus more on her writing.

A Thousand Ships
A Thousand Ships is an outstanding retelling of the Trajan War. What makes this book unique is that you finally get a chance to hear about the war from a woman’s perspective as the men take a back seat. Many women were involved in the causes and consequences of war, so it was their war, just as is it was for the men. Women suffered when those at war lost, and for ten horrible years, some felt the pain just like their husbands. You will meet these women in this story, some mere mortals and other queens and gods. The story covers events that take place before and during Iliad and The Odyssey.

This book opens with Troy’s sacking. The trick is the Greek’s final ditch effort, otherwise known as the Trojan horse. Luckily for the Greeks, the scheme works, and they move fast beyond the wall to rape and pillage. They take their frustrations of an entire decade and heap it all on the people of Troy. Some innocent souls are caught up in this mayhem. In the first chapter, you meet Calliope, who is not ready to help Homer compose his poem until she receives an offering, just like the mortals. It is incredible how the author manages to take Homer out of the narrative in order to focus on Calliope. In the first few pages, you get to see Calliope follow Homer as he works to compose his epic poem.

Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, dominates in this story with her letters to her husband. Her pain is apparent through the pages, and she struggles to put her longing for her husband’s return in words. Other characters you will interact with on these pages include Chryseis and Briseis. The plague would not have happened without these women, and Achilles would have left his troops in the war. Also, Patroclus would have missed his place. In each chapter, you meet yet another woman and get to read about the war from their perspective. There are chapters labeled The Trojan Women, where you interact with Troy’s royal women, including Hector’s wife and Priam’s wife and daughters. What does fate hold for these women of Troy?

A thousand Ships is a captivating and fun Trojan War retelling. The narrative is non-chronological, making this read more like Greek mythology. You will love the vivid characterization and feel so connected to the women as you learn about their experiences. However, the chapters are brilliantly connected, and the flow is excellent from start to finish. It is also fun reading stories of women whose loves, this tragic war altered rivalries and lives. For any historical fiction fan captivated by the Trojan War, this is a must-read.

The Children of Jocasta
The Children of Jocasta is a retelling of the Oedipus myth. If you are familiar with this myth, you will be happy to hear it fresh from a woman’s point. Jocasta is fifteen years old when she is forced to marry the Thebes King. Compared to the old man she is getting married to, her young age doesn’t seem to trouble anyone in her life. This is no surprise since Jocasta’s life had never been hers. She knows that the only chance she has of doing what she wants is when she outlives her absent husband.

Ismene is fifteen when she is attacked inside the palace. Since her parents died over ten years ago, this young girl had always longed for the safety that came with having a family. However, this act of violence changes something in her and sets in motion a tragedy that will only become clear with time. The once sensible young woman is transformed into something else. In alternating chapters, the author expertly weaves a vibrant story of two women, generations apart, who seem to have a shared destiny. It is incredible how the author rationalizes the myths and even adds some modern bits to them.

The prose in this story is among its most outstanding features. Thebes comes to life in the pages, and you can almost feel the happenings in the palace. The dialogue is well done and included a few contemporary elements, while the flow is outstanding. Jocasta remains a powerful figure, and her beautiful dialogue will leave you yearning for more. Even if you are familiar with this plot, there are many discoveries to make, and it is lovely how the story of these two women comes together in the end. The stories are rationalized in many ways, and it is fun seeing how this story differs from the original myths. While the author mainly focuses on the events that impact Ismene and Jocasta’s lives, the descriptions on this bygone era and the setting are so well done that you can feel the heat in the summers and the cool relief brought by the fountains.

The Children of Jocasta offers a fresh perspective to an ancient story. In gripping prose, the author reconstructs Antigone and Oedipus’s stories from the perspective of women who lived through these events. This story is narrated from Jocasta and Ismene’s POVs. We get to see Jocasta through her marriage and later hear from her last-born daughter Ismene who feels burdened living in her dead parents’ shadows. The emotions sometimes get so raw, and you cannot help but get invested in the lives of all the characters. This is a perfect read if you want to escape and take a trip back in time.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Natalie Haynes

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