When thinking of the epics that tell the tales of Odysseus,
Achilles and Aeneas, grand scenes come to mind. Characters are larger than life,
battles are loud and bloody, and the gods are an ever-present influence over the
fortunes of their heroes. If the reader approaches Lavinia with these
expectations, they will be disappointed. It's not an epic; it's a quiet tale,
small and contained. It tells of the things that would have concerned the women
of that time tending to the hearth and performing home rituals, caring for
their children, ministering to the wounded in battle -- common, mundane matters.
Battles happen in the background for the most part. There are no marble-columned
palaces here; what action there is takes place in a rural community.
The reader's expectations may also be distorted by a well-publicized review by Publishers Weekly comparing Lavinia...
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