Circeby Madeline Miller

Meet Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun god. She lacks beauty, charm and the usual qualities associated with the children of gods. Shunned and ignored by her family she falls in love with a mortal and is exiled for using witchcraft, an unforgivable act. 

Banished to an island, she becomes an expert in witchcraft (herbal lore). When the first ship calls in needing repairs and food, Circe is a gracious and generous host, unfortunately, she is repaid with rape and pillage. Circe creates a spell that protects her and turns the next seafaring visitors into swine, until Odysseus visits her island and becomes her lover.

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I loved this feminist retelling of Circe which is sympathetic to her rather than making her out to be a vindictive goddess. The author has painted a world that feels real and genuine. The monsters, legendary characters, gods and goddesses become more than dusty old stories. It was one of my favourite books this year.

This book is perfect for mature teens to adults who love strong female characters, elegant writing and a bit of action.