Myth and legend unite in Cheri Lasota’s hauntingly beautiful debut novel, Artemis Rising. Even with such an intricate plotline, this book is a highly engaging read that will sweep you away with its lyrical passages.
The story begins as Eva’s mother is mentoring her in the rites of the pagan goddess, Artemis. Eva takes the name of the water nymph, Arethusa, and thus consigns her fate to the myth surrounding the nymph, who was pursued by the river god, Alpheus. But Arethusa’s father, a strict Catholic, discovers them and ships them off to the Azores. Soon, Arethusa finds herself the object of attention of the ship owner’s son, the darkly handsome and possessive Diogo.
When a storm wrecks the ship, Arethusa awakens in the arms of her shy rescuer, the soft-spoken Tristao. Now parentless, Arethusa must suffer the derision of her fellow orphans. Diogo soon appears at her bedside and Arethusa begins to believe that he is her Alpheus.
Soon, another legend arises in Arethusa’s life – the tragic romance of Tristan and Isolde. While struggling to unravel these two ancient tales and their often disturbing correlation to the events in her own life, Arethusa searches for the strength within herself to discover her own destiny.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the myth and legend that Lasota has so skillfully laid out here, this book is surprising in both its depth and its message. It gets even more intense as it nears the end. The characters are solid and true. Most of all, Arethusa is a unique heroine of uncommon strength who will have you rooting for her all the way. It’s a love story unlike any other, making Artemis Rising even more memorable.