Lost Sisterhood-Anne Fortier
There are two threads to this novel-a retelling of the Amazon myths from the point of view of the queen, Myrina and that of a modern day scholar following her story.
It’s definitely a trend for me that if it is a book told with two threads-a modern day heroine trying to find out what happened in the past and the past heroine, I’m going to infinitely enjoy the past arc far more than the modern arc. Lost Sisterhood was no exception. Perhaps it’s just that I am a professional archaeologist and I spend most of my time attempting to trace the lives of people living 12000 years ago and therefore I lack romanticism in this regard but I’m much more drawn to the romanticism that is the retelling of the past.
So that’s out of the way, let me tell you about how much I enjoyed Fortier’s interpretation of the Amazon legends. They are a group that has earned mythological status without any actual proper evidence and so they’re a group well suited for literary retelling as feminist movements. Myrina is a real human being with good character development, she begins as a victim and fights as a queen-one with faults and strengths. Her story arc is full of adventure and properly epic grey areas-no one is a full ally but no one is a total enemy. The Trojan War is retold, not like the black and white mythologies we know but as a murky, dirty conflict (though, at times, a bit like trying to follow the news on current conflicts). Plus, her love interest? Fascinating. These are the sections of the book I raced through, enjoying the theme of strong women in hard positions. (As an aside: the historical/mythological references are actually quite good in my opinion-Fortier is definitely following one of the major theories about the Amazons but she definitely plays with it, adding aspects of some of the other theories floating around academia/conspiracists.)
The modern day arc wasn’t bad but it lacked the spark of the Bronze Age arc. As usual, I have problems accepting Diana Morgan’s academic credentials for the situation she ended up in. Maybe I don’t know enough philologists (who am I kidding?) but it was like, really? These are the decisions she’s making? Her use of her contacts to find out more information seems careless and rude and so I felt less sympathy (once again, perhaps I am just taking this too personally, if someone lost my storeroom key, there would be blood. Theirs, not mine. I don’t care if your laptop was stolen and you were hit over the head or whathaveyou and that’s why it’s missing.). This was also the section where the somewhat heavy prose style of Fortier kind of slowed me down and the pacing wasn’t as captivating. The love interest was what kept this section more interesting as it was relatively fun...until they got together. Luckily that took a bit of time so there was plenty of enjoyment.
If you stick with this book though, the overall lasting impression is one of “that was worth it” mostly due to the excellent retelling of the Amazon tales.