Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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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…

Saint’s Gate by Carla Neggers (♦♦♦)

FBI agent Emma Sharpe, former novice with the Sisters of the Joyful Heart, receives a phone call from Sister Joan Mary Fabriani, regarding a painting she has been given to clean. Within the hour from Emma’s arrival at the convent, Sister Joan is killed and the painting disappears. Subsequent events bring Colin Donovan, FBI agent specialized in undercover operations, and Emma together, when it becomes evident that what is happening has much to do with her and her family of art detectives.

I did like this book. It is relatively short by today’s standards and the literary images come to life to describe vividly coastal Maine in the fall. Also vivid are the descriptions of the works of art involved in the story. The characters are well defined and the romance is fun, though it sometimes takes much needed space from the main plot which is the murder and art theft investigation. I was relived at the end when the killer was exposed because I thought Neggers was going to bring about an unknown character; I’m glad she didn’t.

I recommend this book to people who love a good mystery mingled with art history.

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