Seeking Persephone, by Sarah M. Eden was a 2009 Whitney Award finalist. After reading it, it was easy for me to see why. The author’s engaging writing style and clever story draws the reader in.
In essence, it’s a tale of misunderstanding to the greatest degree along with a storyline that is similar to Beauty and the Beast. However, who knew that Beauty and the Beast was in essence a story from Greek mythology—the love story between Persephone and Hades?
I loved this book and I’ve read it twice.
The Duke of Kielder is a mean, cantankerous cuss, scarred inside and out. Born with only a piece of an ear in the early eighteenth century. Surgeon upon surgeon tried to find the rest of his ear that they were so sure was hidden just underneath to no avail. His mother left after the surgeries were all failures, and although she still played a part in his life, the Duke bitterly resented her for leaving him and his father.
After his father died when Adam Boyce (the Duke) was still young, he grew up knowing to never trust, or to love anyone—it only brings disappointment and misery—thus his angry and demanding personality developed as year after year, he refined his skill at keeping people at a distance.
Persephone dreamed, as we all dream, of finding true love—her one and only Prince Charming. Someone who would take care of her, be kind, and love her—someone not at all like her father, an intellectual sort who spent the better part of each day in his own little world oblivious to his family or their needs.
Having never met, Adam and Persephone marry through an arrangement. Adam wants someone to keep his weasely cousin from inheriting his estate. Persephone wants her family to have the money they need to survive.
The Duke expects a homely girl—an old maid, spineless and desperate for money. What he gets is a young woman with a bright intellect (she’s her father’s daughter). Persephone is not spineless, neither is she homely. She lights up each room she enters with her cheery attitude and although her circumstances, and her marriage aren’t ideal, she refuses to give into despair or cynicism.
Persephone treats all the staff with kindness and wins their loyalty. She treats her husband with kindness and respect—believing as she does, that there is good in everyone. Persephone doesn’t bow to her husband or quake in his presence—which takes him off guard. Adam doesn’t know how to act around a pretty girl who treats him well.
Before Adam knows it, he is hopelessly in love—and that’s not what he wanted at all.
Seeking Persephone teaches the life-story of misunderstandings quite well, whether intentionally or unintentionally I’m not sure. Perhaps I picked up on that lesson because I’ve had so much experience with misunderstanding myself. People do things, and sometimes they hurt your feelings. It’s a fact of life. However, we’d all do well to be more like Persephone and less like Adam because—although we think we do—we never know another person’s intent or motivation.