I should feel proud of myself, I read almost half of Athena in a day. It also took me a couple weeks to get to that spot in the book, but that’s besides the point, I’m sure. Of course, my reading habits aren’t why you’re here today. So let’s get down to business.
When I heard about the Newport Ladies Book Club, I was excited for the authors (as I consider them author friends) to have such an awesome project get picked up. As the authors spoke about it, I thought it’d be a great series to get my wife. When Heather asked for reviewers, I jumped at the chance. Then I realized that between my wife and I, I had the stronger internet presence and it’d be better for me to review them. Still, my wife got books I wanted to get her. I, on the other hand, wasn’t prepared to actually enjoy the series.
Athena is the fourth book in the side-by-side storytelling concerning the Newport Ladies Book Club (since all four novels take place over the same time period). The thing I liked about the series was that I could connect to each of the four characters. No, I’m not a woman, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share a connection.
With Athena, I think I shared the most. Ten years ago, I lost my mom to cancer. It wasn’t exactly unexpected. But I see some parallels in my life to Athena’s. Athena’s mother was the glue that held her family together, in a similar fashion, so was mine. Athena gave up some things in life to take care of her ailing father. I, on the other hand, left my mission early to go home and help out my father. (There were other factors, but this is the relevant one.) Athena also never took care of herself. Sure, she enjoyed her job and had her workouts, but she didn’t have anything else in her life. And that’s not exactly a complete parallel, but there have been plenty of times in my life when I’ve ignored my own needs in favor of someone else’s. Not recognizing my needs has caused me a lot of unnecessary grief until I finally see what’s missing and how to fulfill that need.
Now, out of the four books, there have been a few supporting characters. Up until this book, Olivia’s older natural daughter was my favorite and most interesting. But Grey, Athena’s…uh…boyfriend?…sure…boyfriend because my favorite supporting character. A lot of guys dislike the sensitive guy in…well…anything. (I maintain that Edward Cullen is by far the most unreal guy in fiction.) Grey was a very sensitive character. However, he has a past that is delved into pretty decently in this book. Of course, I’d actually like to see a book about Grey.
So, this is a possible SPOILER!!!!!! so if you don’t want to read any, go ahead and jump down to the “END SPOILER” point. Also, I’m writing the potential spoiler in italics to offset it easily for readers.
Athena learns a little about Grey’s past. His father left his family when he was younger and his mother checked out of reality. Grey blamed his mother for what she did. And Grey apparently hated life enough to have attempted to slit his wrists in order to leave this world. Grey is very embittered with his mother throughout the book.
Grey also dated “project” women (for lack of a better term) as a way to cope with his mother’s “checked out” status. But when he met Athena, he found someone who was different. She was a “project” in her own right, but a different project.
Athena was quite bothered by how much Grey disliked (and even distrusted) his own mother. Which I found ironic because while she was alive, Athena really wanted her mother to but out of her life more. It was only after Carmen died, that Athena appreciated her mother’s presence. This was another parallel for me. Having lost my mother, I appreciated her more and projected that appreciation onto others. I even got put in my place once by a friend who had a strained relationship with her mother. It was less than a year after my mom died and she was complaining about her mother. I tried to express how she should be more appreciative of her mother. This friend reminded me how her mother and my mother weren’t the same person. My friend’s definition of “mother” was different than mine.
Something that interested me about Athena was that she played both the damsel in distress and the heroic chick toward Grey. He saved her time and again (in an emotional way) and when mention of Grey’s past is brought up, she goes into this protector mode. Almost as if she wished she could go back to the past and protect Grey from his mother’s depression.
I liked that Grey was human. In Olivia, her husband is only a jerk because he feels betrayed and is trying to hide what betrayals he’s faced. In Daisy, her husband was just selfish (enough said there). In Paige, she found Mr. Really-Good-And-Still-True, but she chose the other “men” in her life (her innocent sons). In Athena, she has a man that is human. That expresses his pain and sadness and anger and past, something that isn’t “macho”. Of course, I think men in generally need to be better at stating who they are and not what society dictates “should” be shared. In modern western society, it seems that men aren’t supposed to have feelings, aren’t supposed to have emotional pains. And I’m glad Heather Moore wrote a character that broke that stereotype.
So, in the end, I really did like Athena. It was very well written in my opinion. I’m glad I got the opportunity to review this series thanks to Heather’s offer.
Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.