Last week, I read Helen of Troy by Margaret George. Those of you who follow my Year In Books every Monday, will know I’ve read two other of Margaret George’s historical fiction novels so far this year and loved both of them. So, it came a quite a surprise to me that I didn’t like this book at all. No joke. I had a hard time even getting through it and, in fact, stopped reading it for a few days and then had to force myself to finish it.
Now, let me clear, it really had nothing to do with the quality of George’s writing, she always writes brilliantly, but rather, I think it was the story in general. I mean, I loved reading about the Trojan War in the Illiad and the Odyssey , but I have to say, I’ve never really had a keen interest in Helen as a person. So, I went into this novel hoping that it would make me see the Trojan war and Helen differently. Instead, it just made me hate all the characters involved. For real. There was not one character in this book that I liked, and you kind of need at least one character you don’t loathe in order to like a book, right?
I mean, Helen was unimaginably selfish, Paris was immature, Menelaus was stone-cold, and everyone else had some sort of foible I couldn’t get over as well. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was this week, but all in all, I just didn’t like this book. And it was kind of a major disappointment. I didn’t feel any emotional connection to any of the characters except for when Helen says goodbye to the daughter she is abandoning in favor of Paris- then I felt really badly for her daughter Hermione and really unreasonably angry with Helen. Other than that, it just didn’t interest me at all. I hate saying that because I think the world of Margaret George but for me, this time, it just didn’t happen.
What about you guys? I need some good reading suggestions.