Saturday, April 29, 2017

*Review* #BeatTheBacklist - Hetaera: Daughter of the Gods by J.A. Coffey

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: February 20, 2013
Pages: 356


Doricha is twelve when her father is murdered by a roving band of Greeks. Betrayed by a jealous priestess and sold into slavery, headstrong Dori loses her most valuable possession-her freedom. She hopes that one day she can truly be free, but not even Aesop, her mentor, can protect her. The harsh world of classical Greece has little use for the minds of women, and she finds her body traded to another owner, who transports her to a new life of luxury and political turmoil in the faraway deserts of Egypt. All she has to do is be beautiful, all she has to do is love him, and she will be kept safe.

The problem is, Dori doesn't want to be kept--by any man. Not even the god-king Amasis, Pharaoh of Egypt. 

From the ancient Thracian temple of the Bacchae to the exotic lands of Egypt where political intrigue coils like a nest of asps, Dori learns that fulfilling her father's dying wish is not about bands around her wrists so much as it is bands around her heart. Based on persons and historical events of 26th dynasty Egypt, HETAERA fictionalizes the life of Doricha/Rhodopis--a most extraordinary woman who changed the world.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and I'm kind of glad I did looking at the spelling of some of these names in the synopsis, because I would have absolutely been pronouncing them wrong in my head (unless the narrator was pronouncing them wrong, but I really doubt the author would have signed off on the narration if that was the case.) The narrator had a really intriguing accent that made the book fun to listen to, but it wasn't so heavy that it made it hard to understand. 

I have not read much historical fiction set in ancient Greece and Egypt, tending towards stories from Greek mythology or about the Egyptian gods when I do read things set in that period. While this was less fantastical than those stories tend to be, it still felt like reading Greek mythology. I don't know how accurate the details were about Doricha's life and influence and all that (yes I realize this is a fictionalization of her life), but it definitely felt real. And I have to admit that I got a little bit excited when Aesop entered the picture, although it took me a little while to determine that it was in fact THE Aesop. 

I also feel the need to admit to shaming my inner feminist by wanting Dori to be content with the owner that transported her to the life of luxury. I'm trying to reconcile my desires there with the knowledge that women weren't held in very high regard back then even when they weren't slaves, so her position was pretty awesome considering. I really did not want her to do anything to mess that up for herself. I know I should have wanted more for her, but I really felt like that was the best she could hope to achieve and that she should be content with that lot. 

Overall I give this 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to fans of Greek mythology and historical fiction. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

J.A. Coffey writes classic, clever, captivating romance and epic historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page.

A complete cupcake addict, when she isn't writing or reading, she can be found lurking in various European cities, test baking desserts, or "feathering her nest" with spruced up flea market finds. A 2014 Indie Book Awards Finalist and former RWA Golden Heart finalist in the "Best Manuscript with Romantic Elements" category, J.A. is currently working on her latest novel and trying not to get cupcake batter on her keyboard.

To receive an email on book releases, bonus material and free giveaways, sign up for her VIP newsletter, COFFEY TALK, at

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