That you are the daughter of a god, and more beautiful than the goddesses in heaven. Instead, we see Helen through the wary eyes of Anaxandra, taken hostage at a young age but raised as a guest of the house of the minor king who took her hostage. This is a creative and fascinating look at the world of ancient Greece at the beginning of the Trojan War. This topic has always fascinated me, and I think that Cooney does a beautiful job of bringing it to life.
The reader gets a picture of what life was like in ancient times both normal days and the sudden, harsh violence that could destroy your world in a moment as fierce raiders, hungry for glory, gold, and slaves, descend upon you from the sea. The author also refrained from inserting a too modern feel into the story with the exception of one interchange at a merchant's shop between the main character and a king. One very moving line was from an old woman, once a queen, now a slave: "Does the life I lead make you think of gentle, loving gods?" No, the gods of this world were cruel, life was cruel, and humans were cruel, usually kind to their own but brutal to others.
(more like 3 and 1/2 stars) Anaxandra is six years old when King Nicander comes to the small island of her childhood and takes her away as a tribute and to be a companion to his sickly daughter Callisto. Except that is, for his wife Helen, who doesnt believe Callistos story and becomes a constant danger to Anaxandra. But Anaxandra who has come to love Menelaus family will do anything to protect the children and assumes once again, the identity of another person. I have been in the mood for historical fiction lately and I quite enjoyed Goddess of Yesterday both because of its ancient Greece setting and connection to the Trojan War but also because of its resilient main character, Anaxandra. Anaxandra is a creation of this author but I liked how the minor role she comes to play in the Trojan War is one that could have been.
When a fleet of ships belonging to King Menelaus arrives on the island, she take the identity of Princess Callisto in order to survive. Things go up and down when she arrives in Sparta, since Helen knows that she stole an identity.
Audiobook note: At first, I thought the narrator's voice was too deep for a young girl's.
I enjoyed reading this book, and it makes me sad to give it only two stars. The settings, details, and descriptions were nice, and I felt like I was there with the characters.
There is a huge range of novels out there concerning the Trojan War and the men and women whose lives were changed by the great event - so many books in fact, that it is difficult to find one that doesn't feel stale and predictable (after all, no author can really make shocking twists and turns in a war whose outcome is already known). Under this new identity, she is taken to Sparta where she mingles with the family of the king: his beautiful but dangerous wife Helen, his cheerful daughter Hermione, his two elder sons, and baby Pleisthenes. It is there of course, that the inevitable happens: Prince Paris of Troy arrives in Sparta, and when Menelaus is called away to his grandfather's funeral, Paris and Helen set sail once more for Troy...taking baby Pleisthenes and Anaxandra (again under a false identity in a bid to save Hermione's life) with them... There are a few details that bothered me: Anaxandra often beseeches the deity that gives name to the book: 'the goddess of yesterday', but who this figure actually is and how she fits into the pantheon of Greek gods remains unknown. And for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Trojan War, they will be left dangling with absolutely no information on what happens to any of the characters - Cooney ends the book, so to speak, just when it seems like it's beginning.
Also, this book shows how much family is important and taps into the world of mythology, gods and goddesses.
"In a suspense novel, you can count on action." To keep her stories realistic, Caroline visits many schools outside of her area, learning more about teenagers all the time.