More often than not the sacrifices, intellect, and devotion of the partners of famous personalities are forgotten. They live in the shadows of the many accomplishments of these stars. In Landscape of a Marriage, Gail Ward Olmsted gives life to Mary Olmsted who was the wife of the famous American landscape architect, Frederick Olmsted. When Mary lost her first husband to tuberculosis, she turned to his family for help with raising three young kids. What she received in return was nothing short of a blessing. Her deceased husband’s brother, Fred, offered to marry her. Although this was a marriage born out of obligation, it soon transformed into a beautiful union of love. As Mary and Fred overcame the early conflicts of marriage, they became stronger as a couple. Together, they weathered many storms that life threw at them: loss of loved ones, financial upheavals, and emotional turmoil. Amidst the chaos, Mary stood tall like an unwavering soldier holding the fort in Fred’s long absences. Unaware of her contributions, she extended all the credit to her husband. Toward the end, however, the realization that she was the integral part of his success became the highlight of her journey.
An insightful meeting with seventy-three-year-old Ivan in Ukraine inspired Pramudith D. Rupasinghe to pen down this Biographical Historical Fiction named Bayan. The book is an exquisite amalgamation of history, human sentiments, music, and philosophy. In over seventy years, Ivan — the protagonist — has witnessed, suffered, and enjoyed numerous ebbs and flows of the circumstances. As a result, he holds not only an ocean of memories but also a treasure of wisdom and awe-inspiring experiences. Living a life of solitude, accompanied by only a bayan, he plays and sings melodies reminiscent of the days long gone. Then, in a turn of events, a stranger enters his house and stays as a guest with him for a few days. What begins as a cultural and philosophical monologue eventually turns into a walk down a memory lane that was too personal and too emotional.
The Burial by Drew Montgomery navigates its readers through the emotional aspect of war. Unbeknownst to Eira, far from her home and family, a war was going on. As the prophet’s holy land came under attack by heathens, all men from her homeland were called upon to participate in the battle and defend their territories. Despite her pleadings and rebukes, Gwil, her husband, left for the war, leaving her and their three children behind.
The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is not a new story; it’s a retelling of Hindu mythology Ramayana in the voice of Sita. When we think of Ramayana, we think of Sita as a woman who suffered in silence. Therefore, her reflections, thoughts, and emotions regarding the many injustices that were imposed on her remain concealed. Finally, through The Forest of Enchantments, Chitra Banerjee has given voice to the woman who walked beside her husband only to be discarded by him in the end. Chitra Banerjee’s Sita raised questions without losing her calm and dignity. While the history remembers Sita as a devoted wife and companion of Ram, Chitra Banerjee has unfolded many attributes that make this woman much more than just a life-partner.
Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is an engaging historic fiction that revolves around a baffling custom. To appease the goddess, two girls were sent to Athena’s temple at Troy every year. For this duration, these maidens lived in servitude in the temple. Ultimately, they returned to Lokris with the vow of sanctity for the rest of their lives.