Linda (Corydon IN)
All of the Marbles
I enjoyed reading about two strong women, whose connection to the Elgin marbles and their accomplishments, were somehow lost in the maze of history. The book gives us a better understanding of the role played by Britain in saving the marbles but I still believe they belong in Greece. This is a wonderful book for any literary book club and for anyone who has a love of history. Personally, I would like to view the Marbles once more with this book as a background.
Valerie (Chico CA)
For me, Stealing Athena's strongest point is the excellent female characters. These two women are strong, independent, intelligent, and struggling with the restraints placed on them by male dominated societies. On a broader scale, this is excellent historical fiction, done in an unusual, to me at least, manner. There are two story lines, with two female protagonists, joined by the Greek art and history, but separated by centuries. It's interesting how so little changed in female freedom/repression during the many centuries these two story lines represent.
Irene (Ashland OR)
A fascinating historical novel.
Although millenniums apart, two smart, self-willed women battle the laws and customs made by men.
I liked this well-written novel because of the history, the determination of the two women and the focus on the marble carvings of Athens.
Juliet (Clarendon Hills IL)
Stealing Athena- Really good historical fiction!
Stealing Athena does a great job of bringing to life the fascinating story of the controversial acquisition of ancient Greek marbles by Lord Elgin, the ambassador to Turkey, and his beautiful and vivacious wife, Mary. The story is interwoven with a parallel tale of Perikles and his lover, Aspasia, who presided over the marbles' construction.
Both tales make exciting the stranger-than-fiction realities of these events, with rich detail providing an in-depth glimpse into eras and societies far removed from our own. Not only are these stories inherently interesting, the book is written in a way that makes for a fun read. In addition, it is interesting how both women must cope with their powerless status as women in their societies, leading the reader to question how some of these cultural assumptions about women have persisted into our own time and culture, and how women continue to deal with them today. I enjoyed this book a lot - it was unique, informative, and enjoyable, and it will stay with me for a long while.
Cynthia (Puyallup WA)
This was a wonderful book - Karen Essex has skillfully intertwined two timelines in order to bring to the reader a story rich with detail. The depth of the characters is enthralling and their involvement behind the plundering of precious artifacts makes this a MUST READ!
Elsbeth (Medford WI)
Stealing Athena, A Great Book
Stealing Athena was a joy to read, from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this book of historical fiction.
Mary Nisbet Elgin's story, set in the early 1800's is vividly told, while the author cleverly goes back to ancient Athen's Golden Age and weaves in the story of Aspasia, courtesan of Pericles. These two women, although living in very different times, showed strength and resourcefulness that will draw readers interested in women's advocacy issues. Greek mythology buffs will enjoy references to narratives of the gods and goddesses of ancient times.
I strongly recommend Stealing Athena to all adult book groups, as there are limitless topics of interest to discuss and ponder.
Joan Pascuzzo (Owego NY)
Every five years or so there is renewed interest in returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece. This book has two threads. It tells of Lord Elgin's obsession with procuring the Marbles for England, and simultaneously the building of the Parthenon in Ancient Greece.
I found the story interesting and informative. The reader gets a good idea of life in the Napoleonic era with the friction between England and France. It also gives a taste of every day life in Ancient Greece. Lord Elgin's wife, Mary, and Aspasia, Pericles's mistress, faced the same hurdles that women with no legal rights faced in the not too distant past. Historical Fiction fans will love this book.