Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

Atonement (♦♦♦♦♦)

England, 1935.

Robbie Turner (James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland), a servant’s son, and Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice), are in love but have been avoiding each other’s company for the last few years. Then Robbie decides to go away to medical school and Cecilia is mad about it. When 13-year-old Briony (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones), Cecilia’s younger sister, reads a steamy love letter that Robbie sent to Cecilia and then witnesses a sexual encounter between them, she believes Robbie capable of terrible things and guilty of a violent crime. Briony’s accusation will forever change the course of their lives.

I wanted to review this movie since I started this blog. I have seen it three times and every time it ends, I experience the same shock and emotions inherent to the story. The screenplay wouldn’t be as powerful without the wonderful acting of McAvoy, Knightley, Ronan, and later on of Romola Garai, as the young Briony and of Vanessa Redgrave, as the older Briony. The war images are much more graphic than many war movies I have seen, and I dare to say raise the bar for the sin Briony must atone.

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. The incredible on-screen chemistry between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy makes the film utterly romantic, and unforgettably devastating. Not to be missed!