PENELOPE’S DAUGHTER

Laurel Corona

From the award-winning author of The Four Seasons comes a sumptuous novel that retells The Odyssey from the point of view of Xanthe—the daughter Odysseus didn’t know existed…
Xanthe is the brave, beautiful daughter of Odysseus and Penelope—and potential heir to the throne of Ithaca. But the royal court is in upheaval. A battle is being waged inside the palace, and upstairs, Xanthe is barricaded in her chambers—her only protection against the rapacious suitors who will do anything to become king, even if it means murdering her brother and abducting her as their bride.

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From the award-winning author of The Four Seasons comes a sumptuous novel that retells The Odyssey from the point of view of Xanthe—the daughter Odysseus didn’t know existed…
Xanthe is the brave, beautiful daughter of Odysseus and Penelope—and potential heir to the throne of Ithaca. But the royal court is in upheaval. A battle is being waged inside the palace, and upstairs, Xanthe is barricaded in her chambers—her only protection against the rapacious suitors who will do anything to become king, even if it means murdering her brother and abducting her as their bride.

With her father Odysseus gone for twenty years, Xanthe barricades herself in her royal chambers to escape the rapacious suitors who would abduct her to gain the throne. Xanthe turns to her loom to weave the adventures of her life, from her upbringing among servants and slaves, to the years spent in hiding with her mother’s cousin, Helen of Troy, to the passion of her sexual awakening in the arms of the man she loves.

And when a stranger dressed as a beggar appears at the palace, Xanthe wonders who will be the one to decide her future-a suitor she loathes, a brother she cannot respect, or a father who doesn’t know she exists…

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  • Berkley
  • Paperback
  • October 2010
  • 368 Pages
  • 9780425236628

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$15.00

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About Laurel Corona

Laurel Corona is a professor of humanities at San Diego City College and a longtime resident of Southern California. She is the author of The Four Seasons, along with numerous works of nonfiction.

Praise

“A beautiful excursion into the realms of The Odyssey, with some surprises Homer didn’t know about.”—Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Helen of Troy

“Laurel Corona brings Homer’s epic to life in this spectacular novel of the ancient world. Populated with a rich cast of characters—from Helen of Troy to Odysseus—this is a book you won’t want to put down!”—Michelle Moran, national bestselling author of Nefertiti

“This charming, exquisite, and poetic novel embodies the dazzling light of Venice and the heavenly music of the coro as it portrays two orphaned sisters full of ambition, heart, and steadfast love.”
Booklist

“Fans of Tracy Chevalier’s Girl With a Pearl Earring will welcome another novel about how a masterpiece is created. Corona shines when showing musicians at work, especially through a secondary characters both real (opera star Anna Giro) and imagined (violin teacher Silvia the Rat).”—Publishers Weekly

Discussion Questions

Eumaeus the swineherd once tells Xanthe that it is “better to be a worker on the oikos of a great man . . . than to be in his own country with no crown, no land, no possessions.” What do you think of this view?

Helen feels strongly that a girl of Xanthe’s age needs a lover, even if she is not yet married. What do you think of Helen’s at­titude and her actions to ensure that Xanthe does indeed find a man with whom to experience passion?

Helen tells Xanthe “it is better to act, even badly and in ways you regret, than to be afraid of life.” Do you agree?

Do gods and goddesses really visit the mortals in this book, or is it just their imaginations?

Do you ever find yourself viewing something as an omen? If so, how does it affect your thoughts or actions?

What do you think would have happened if Odysseus’ ruse was successful and he had never gone off to the Trojan War? If he had never come home? If he had lost the battle with the suitors?

Based on Adreste’s story, to what degree should Helen be held responsible for her actions in running off with Paris to Troy?

Xanthe uses her weaving as a jumping-off point for the telling of her story. If you were going to tell the story of one period in your own life, how would you represent it as a weaving (or another art form of your preference)?