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The Dark Wife  By  cover art

The Dark Wife

By: Sarah Diemer
Narrated by: Veronica Giguere
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Publisher's Summary

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want - except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny. But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

The Dark Wife is a YA novel, a lesbian revisionist retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth. It won the 2012 Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction.

©2011 Sarah Diemer (P)2016 Hatching Phoenix Productions

What listeners say about The Dark Wife

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Please rerecord this audiobook!

The Dark Wife is a book I've been meaning to read for years but just finally found the time in the form of hour-long commutes to work. The story of Persephone and Hades has always been a favorite of mine, especially when you delve deep into the various interpretations of the "original" translations. To make them lesbians and reveal Zeus to be the douchebro we all know him to be is just awesome. The story is well-written and while I would've liked a little more focus on the external plot, I absolutely loved the romance.

What isn't awesome is the audiobook. I honestly regret not reading the book myself because the narrator is the worst narrator I've ever heard. Let me give you a brief overview of the issues:

The narrator is inconsistent in pretty much everything. In the span of one paragraph she'll pronounce things differently, the most notable being Gaia (Guy-uh to Gay-uh) along with other general Greek pronunciation problems (Rhea, specifically). She gives each character a different manner of speech and I've found that narration immediately following dialogue keeps that character's voice rather than Persephone's (since the story is in first person). There are even times when the narrator drops Persephone's voice during narration, as if she's gotten tired of it.

Speaking of Persephone's voice, it is honestly the most grating sound I've ever heard. Persephone is a strong, capable heroine who is taking control of her own destiny. The way the narrator voices her, however, makes her seem meek and on the verge of tears constantly. Even if all she's doing is picking flowers. Everything seems like a sorrow, which is completely out of character. It honestly affects the way the character is interpreted, though most of the characters end up with voices that don't match their character -- Hermes' voice is slow, Pallas is childish, Hades is monotonous and masculine.

As I said, this is just a brief list but these are the most egregious issues that pull me out of the story.

14 people found this helpful

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awesome story

best story I've listen to in a long time. Narration was on point. story kept me captivated. give 10 Stars if I could.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It’s barely just ok...

I would have to say that this story is just OK. In fact, it is barely just OK to be completely honest. The first half of the novel is weak in writing and in unoriginal in story. The second half of the novel is worth listening to. It seems the author finally found their voice about halfway through. Shame they did not go back and correct the first half. The major problem I had with this book is the performance. The narrator did such a poor job. You could hear her breathing in the microphone, etc. The editing of this audio file was also quite poo. You could clearly hear the distinction between the different audio files. There was background noise of microphone tampering at some points. I may have enjoyed the story a bit more if my focus was not consistently been drawn to the weak performance. This unique take on this Greek mythology is an interesting concept and decently thought out; shame the writing and performance weighed it down. I do not recommend this novel.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Stunning, heartfelt telling of Persephone & Hades

What made the experience of listening to The Dark Wife the most enjoyable?

Veronica speaks as Persephone as she tells the story before all has happened, and as it happened. Veronica does cracking voices full of emotion when the book notes it. She feels to speak with such love and emotion that draws my heart into the story. A stunning vocal performance from Veronica as she relates all the emotions through her voice, and draws me into them.

What did you like best about this story?

Sarah's writing feels as though it's poetic with emotions strong in her words. The cadence of the telling, along with Veronica's vocals, felt to fit the old sway of words with the Greek gods and goddesses. The details and emotions invested into this story feel to be strong. There is such love written here. And in the voice! Veronica relates the strength of all the emotions present.

Which scene was your favorite?

The story is very drawing with the words and Veronica's voice. But the one scene that touched my heart the deepest was when the dead villagers met others. You'll know the moment and who the others are when it happens. Beautiful.

Any additional comments?

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Persephone grows fonder and fonder of Hades. In their small connections it seems that Hades is healing, along with Persephone in heart and mind. They have both suffered some loses or torment from others that starts to heal with each other's presence.

We get a feel of the flip of good and evil where we would think to see it. Zeus and Hades, evil and good. Which is the one that has more compassion for people and souls? We see things from a different angle that opens possible thoughts of it all.

This story is told as Hades as a female, as is Persephone. They fall in love and it's beautiful. This book is all emotion. I didn't get a feel of strong prejudice from everyone present. It's natural to love and it doesn't matter who that love is directed to. Love is an amazing emotion and all should feel it. Though, there is one that's not thrilled with it as it's not him receiving the love as he feels he should. He is also one that seems to look down on a relationship between two woman, but that is only briefly mentioned. The story is mainly a gorgeous telling of Persephone finding her way in the world and finding love.

The story is very drawing with the words and Veronica's voice. But the one scene that touched my heart the deepest was when the dead villagers met others. You'll know the moment and who the others are when it happens. Beautiful.

If you thrive on lush descriptions of all around you and feelings, this is a great read for you.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So good!

I have read this book twice already, but I enjoyed this recording immensely! The reader hit on all the emotions and characters so well.

1 person found this helpful

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Just Okay

I went into this expecting a lot, and that’s my fault. I’m not the biggest fan of Greek myth tales, but my friend chose this for book club, so here I am. This was a snooze. It’s the same old story I’ve heard/read a thousand times, but it’s gay. It felt forced and rushed. The audio was weird. I kept hearing background noise and thought it was my headphones acting up. I feel like I wasted a credit on this one.

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Great Atmosphere

Veronica Giguere has a very nice sultry voice but this was not the story for that. Her voice made the story very atmospheric and slow. I struggled to get through and ended up giving up with 40 minutes left to go. I loved the voices of the side characters though!

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I was never able to stop reading it!

It was a story I needed and waited for in a long long time, without knowing how bad I needed it. I just adored it!

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Slow

I liked the story but it was slow moving. I also had to increase the reading speed.

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It was okay.

The story was decent enough, although a few occurrences felt like there was not enough build-up for the payoff to feel earned.

The narrator did a decent job differentiating between characters with voices, but her delivery did not have enough emotion in some places. Also, she needs to invest in a better pop filter. All throughout, one can hear mouth noises, and if that sort of thing bothers you, then I’d give this one a skip.

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  • Foxy
  • 04-16-20

A Lesbian Hades what more could you ask for

I loved the story with Hades being a woman and not only that but a lesbian. This story was a different love story to the ones I normally listen too, and I really enjoyed it from beginning to end. This was a lovely romance between Hades and Persephone.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paige
  • 09-15-19

10/10 would gay again

What can I say? I loved it absolutely. might just me being gay but I adored it

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  • Blair
  • 03-03-17

a succulent tale of love and power

Would you listen to The Dark Wife again? Why?

Not only is the narration utterly stunning the story itself is just divine. There are so many wonderful women in this story, that is at it's core a story that really explores the depths and complexities of female characters and lesbian love stories without fetishisation or stereotyping. There is not your typical slice of white bread discovers she is the chosen one. This is a story that while spoken of gods resonates so beautifully with the lives of so many, be it that in the LGBT community or otherwise. The way these characters are balances is utterly brilliant, their endless lives somehow manage to investigate a fascinating side of humanity that so few writers ever reach. I could write a novel itself about this story, but the most important thing to me is that these women are treated as people, two women who both hold love within their hearts for at one time perhaps another woman, but eventually for one another. As a Lesbian myself it is so so so wonderful to experience lesbian relationships written in a normalised manner, which sounds crazy considering the context of gods and myths but once again that shows the power of this story.

What did you like best about this story?

The use of language, which is rich but not loquacious to a point that is tiring as many authors can be. The diverse range of characters and beautiful portrayal of several lesbian relationships.

What about Veronica Giguere’s performance did you like?

Everything, honestly, her ability with voices is stunning and I just found myself lost in the world over and over again as if I were in the most beautiful of waking dreams.

Any additional comments?

Listen to this book, just please, no matter who you are, listen, it is stunning.