Stealing Athena is about two influential and custom defying women in history. Both caught between the conventions of their time and trying to help the men they loved.
At 21, newlywed, Mary, the countess of Elgin used her charm and influence with the Ottoman Empire to gain permission for her husband Elgin to deconstruct what was left of the Greek Parthenon and bring it's amazing sculptures back to England, during the Napoleonic wars.
Two millennia earlier, Aspasia, courtesan to Perikles and philosopher, used her charm and influence to get Athens to allow the building of the Parthenon and all of its amazing monuments.
The flow of the book going from one time and place to the other was weaved in perfect synchronization by Karen Essex. Her descriptions of both the construction and deconstruction of the Parthenon made me feeling like I was there, witnessing it for myself. Essex poet pose made me race through the pages, but not wanting the book to end.
This is historical fiction at its finest! Highly recommended!
Thanks to Adrienne C. Sparks of Doubleday for a copy of this book!