• Daughters of Sparta

  • A Novel
  • By: Claire Heywood
  • Narrated by: Mira Dovreni
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (174 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For millennia, men have told the legend of the woman whose face launched a thousand ships - but now it's time to hear her side of the story. Daughters of Sparta is a tale of secrets, love, and tragedy from the women behind mythology's most devastating war, the infamous Helen and her sister, Klytemnestra.

As princesses of Sparta, Helen and Klytemnestra have known nothing but luxury and plenty. With their high birth and unrivaled beauty, they are the envy of all of Greece. But such privilege comes at a cost. While still only girls, the sisters are separated and married to foreign kings of their father's choosing - Helen remains in Sparta to be betrothed to Menelaos, and Klytemnestra is sent alone to an unfamiliar land to become the wife of the powerful Agamemnon. Yet even as queens, each is only expected to do two things: birth an heir and embody the meek, demure nature that is expected of women. 

But when the weight of their husbands' neglect, cruelty, and ambition becomes too heavy to bear, Helen and Klytemnestra must push against the constraints of their society to carve new lives for themselves, and in doing so, make waves that will ripple throughout the next 3,000 years. 

Daughters of Sparta is a vivid and illuminating reimagining of the Siege of Troy, told through the perspectives of two women whose voices have been ignored for far too long.

©2021 Claire Heywood (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Heywood’s wondrous retelling of the lives of two ancient princesses struggling for independence and agency in a patriarchal society resonates deeply in today’s imperfect world. Required reading for fans of Circe, and a remarkable, thrilling debut." (Fiona Davis, New York Times best-selling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue)

“Helen of Troy and her sister Klytemnestra are reimagined in this gorgeous retelling of the classic Greek myth - not as women defined by their husbands and lovers but as battle-weary survivors of a patriarchal society who take control of their own destiny. Absolutely riveting!” (Alka Joshi, New York Times best-selling author of The Henna Artist

What listeners say about Daughters of Sparta

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Garbage compared to other Trojan War Stories

I listened to this entire book but it was a struggle. Coming off of just finishing Song of Achilles, A Thousand Ships, and Silence of the Girls/The Women of Troy, this book came up so short. The author made both Helen and Klytemnestra sound like complete idiots. Helen was so selfish and stupid, with absolutely no remorse. Klytemnestra was also an idiot, and in this version of the story, the author has her knowingly lead her daughter, Iphengenia to be sacrificed, which is not what happened in the Iliad or any other version. The women were vapid characters that were written to make it impossible for the reader to care what happened to them. There was no deep character development, it was just 2 women being weak and pathetic.

The narration was just ok. I had to actually slow it down to .9 to listen because the narrator read so fast. I couldn’t stand her voices for the men, they all sounded Spanish. And the worst part to get over for me was her blatant mispronunciation of Iphenigenia’s name to the point where I initially didn’t even know who she was referring to! Also, she butchered Hecabe and Andromache’s names. She should have checked the proper enunciation before reading an entire book. Just not an impressive book whatsoever, especially following on the heels of other Trojan War books out there now. I feel like I wasted a credit.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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At LAST!!!

I loved this book!

I could not put it down. Daughters of Sparta is a story about two sisters named Helen and Klyemnestra and their life in a ancient world ruled and controlled by men. Out of all the stories of Helen of Troy this by far was my favorite. Claire Haywood brings to life two voices in Greek mythology that I feel have been suppressed for long enough. Their stories have alway (in my opinion) been told through everyone else point of view but now they finally get their own perspectives.

3 people found this helpful

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I couldn’t stop!

At first I thought it started out a little slow. But like 3 chapters in I couldn’t stop listening to this book. I was so hooked.

1 person found this helpful

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loved it!

this was a great retelling! the female perspective was really interesting, for me I especially enjoyed thinking of it in the same universe as Song of Achilles

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Historical Retelling

I am glad I ignored the reviews about this book. While it may let some people down in terms of being "unfeminist" or for the narrator being "too fast" I think the issue lies in the readers overall capability. I listened to the book on 2.00x , 1.75x. and at 1.50x and found that the best flow was between 1.75 - 2.00.

It give a good historical portrayal of gender roles at that time period. The women themselves are unfortunate if you know the story. However the author and narrator do a great job of giving them depth and allowing you to feel their struggles and how the duty of their time forced them into their respective boxes.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I walked away with more questions?

Did Helen and Klytemnestra ever see each other again? Did their stories end well? There was not as much resolution as I was searching for, I guess.

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The Iliad come to life

The main characters of the Iliad were not men after all. They were Helen and Klytemnestra. This is a lot better story!Mira Dovreni is excellent!!

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Excellent

I love mythology and this perspective / storytelling was worth the read. Definitely captures the darkness of a lot of the myths while showing the complexity of the characters

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  • DB
  • 02-10-22

Arm's Length Retelling

While I liked the premise of this retelling, the stories of Helen and Klytemnestra are complex and heartbreaking. I feel that the author was arm-length in her telling of these tales. I wanted to be in the trenches with the sisters. I want to sob at the conclusions of their stories, but the author did not take me there.

3.5 stars, mainly for telling the stories from Klytemnestra's and Helen's POVs.

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Interesting take on an ancient myth

It was interesting to reimagine the mythology without the interference of Gods and Goddesses.

The narrator does a good job except for the incorrect pronunciation of the Greek names. I am familiar with the correct pronunciation, so it was distracting.

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