Helen of Troy, as the name suggests, tells the story of the famous War of Troy from the point of view of Helen, the spartan queen who fell in love with a trojan prince and whose love started the animosity between Greece and Troy.
Margaret George used an overall feminine perspective to narrate the events. Until the second half of the book, readers will be presented with the domestic worries and social challenges that Helen needs to surpass in order to overcome the legends and fateful curses that surround her life. After she escapes from Greece, the events of the War of Troy start to overlap with these trivial matters, turning a range of feelings and frustrations into a whole background of war and destruction that makes the light-hearted beginning of the story look like a long forgotten dream.
Margaret George’s writing style is forged to please the feminine reader: as mentioned before, Helen of Troy is nothing but a faithful approach of how trivial the life of a queen (and daughter of a god) could be in comparison to our own lives; her worries are entirely domestic and could even be considered futile at some point. The first half of the book lacks drama and action – the reader is rocked into a smooth lullaby, where Helen’s abashing passion for Paris works as the gears that makes the story proceed; then, suddenly, Troy is at war and everyone dies. In other words, what I call the string of drama is a little bit broken – I could even refer to the fact that in my country, Helen of Troy was broken down into two books and at the first page of the second book, all the drama starts happening. There isn’t a sense of continuity between those two distinct parts.
That aside, I need to mention that the second half of Helen of Troy is splendid. It completely makes up for the dull storyline that fills up the first 300 pages, portraying heartbreaking, breathtaking events that will always drive you to the edge of your seat. The characters gain density and maturity and their stories start overlapping with the grace that was needed since the beginning. Margaret George also had an intelligent approach that surrounds Helen’s part in the War of Troy, making up an ending that is completely credible and adjusted to the storyline and also Homer’s perspective of the war. Also, the end is a tearjerker – which is wonderful.