An unusual, quiet historical novel chronicles what the life of Socrates’ second wife may have been like.
After her father dies, Myrto is given to her brother’s former teacher, Socrates, as a second wife. As a young woman in ancient Greece, Myrto can aspire to little more than the hope for a kind husband. However, in Socrates, Myrto also finds a great mind: He encourages Myrto to think through discussion and reading with his son, Lamprocles, and their friends. On their wedding night, Socrates assures a frightened Myrto that he will never force himself on her. Myrto and Socrates eventually become lovers, but given how much time was spent on Myrto’s fear of consummating her marriage, it seems strange that this is only mentioned in passing. Similarly, when Myrto becomes pregnant, she is frightened of childbirth. Even more time is spent on her overcoming this fear, but the birth itself is glanced over, which may leave readers feeling a bit thrown off. The majority of this book is an examination of Socratic philosophy, resulting in a story in which not much happens apart from incredible intellectual growth on the part of the protagonist.
This rather odd tale should appeal to thinkers and fans of ancient historical fiction. (Historical fiction. 12-16)