Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Summer Maiden: Persephone's Fall by Eva Darcy (#bdsm #erotica)

Most people do not know this, but I studied classical literature back in University, so I have a definite fondness for interesting new takes on our oldest myths. It has to be about more than just retelling them in modern English, though. To catch my interest, authors have to find an angle, a way into the story, some hook that they can exploit to make something new and exciting of it.

That is precisely what Eva Darcy has done with Summer Maiden: Persephone's Fall.

Next to the stories of Hermaphroditus and Agdistis/Attis/Cybele, that of Persephone is probably my favorite. Darcy follows the original myth fairly closely, and does not shy away from its darkness - after all, her story is often referred to as Rape of Persephone - but she places some interesting twists on it that make this a book well worth reading.

The biggest change is probably that of Persephone herself, shifting her from the realm of rape and into that of dubious consent. She is a real girl here, with real passions, trapped in a confusing situation that she is not mature enough to handle. As infatuated as she is with Aidon (Hades), and as much as she wants him to claim her virginity, she is angry with him, and fights his taking of her. Afterwards, however, she makes the important distinction that it was not his taking of her that amounted to rape, but his leaving her afterward. I loved that she was elevated above mere victim here, and thought it was interesting to see her granted control over her fate here, choosing to eat of the pomegranate rather than being tricked into it.

Less of a change and more of an addition is the aggressive sexuality of Aidon. He is angry and dark, a violently passionate lover who puts the S&M into BDSM. It makes for an uncomfortable read at times, and I can see how some readers might have an issue with that issue of dubious consent, but I think Darcy did a fantastic job of making him more than the rapist and trickster the original myths would have us believe. I would hardly call their relationship a romance, but it is sensual, erotic, and approaches a happily-ever-after rather than sad tragedy.

One last comment, I loved the inclusion of Charon as a character. I was not expecting his presence, but it is rather fitting that the ferryman be there to ease our passage into the Underworld.

Summer Maiden: Persephone's Fall is a book that is probably best appreciated by those familiar with the original myth, but that is no reason to hesitate. Give the original myth a quick read on Wikipedia if you have to, so you can understand how and where it is flawed, and you will better appreciate how Darcy has chiselled away at some of those flaws and given Persephone her due.

I am a writer of erotica with a grad degree in history, who used to teach Western Civ. (I may have secretly spent too much time teaching time dreaming about the stories behind the ancient stories...). I began with Persephone because her myth has always resonated so strongly with me. When I saw Bernini's "Rape of Proserpina" statue in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, I knew I had to write her story. I intend to tell more stories in this world I've built, so expect more cross-over characters in other (stand-alone) BDSM-flavoured romance novellas.


No comments:

Post a Comment