When her beloved daughter Kore vanishes, Demeter is distraught. Suspecting betrayal and mistrusting of her family, she searches across the world, unable to come to terms with such a loss. But Demeter is one of the original goddesses of Mount Olympus, and a force not to be underestimated. She is determined that she will find her daughter, even if it means destroying humanity in the process.
Winter Harvest is a brand-new, dark reimagining of the tale of Demeter and Persephone by Greek author Ioanna Papadopoulou. Steeped in lore and with a deep understanding of the many different facets of Demeter’s personality, this retelling will change your perspective on one of the most well-known stories of Greek mythology.
Winter Harvest is a really ambitious dark fantasy novel, inspired by the myth of the Greek goddess Demeter, written by a Greek author, Ioanna Papadopoulou, and published by Ghost Orchid Press. A goddess with a rich story which is often ignored in favour of her hungry power brothers, and which Papadopoulou uses to create an exciting story about family, motherhood and feminine rage.
From her birth, Demeter, daughter of Kronos and Rhea, was trapped in the darkness of her father's stomach; fearing that the same monstrous character lived inside her, a thing that she should keep repressed. Even after being freed by Zeus, her younger brother, or after the Titanomachy was won, establishing the new Olympic order, that rage was still inside of her; a constant element in her life until she birthed Kore, her daughter (even if the conception was traumatic due to the tyrannical nature of her brothers).
Kore brought the light to her, a happiness she hadn't experienced while in the company of her siblings; a bliss that only enhanced her powers as a life related goddess. However, when Kore disappears from the earth, she finds herself alone in the quest of finding her; none of the Olympics wants to help her, finding herself alone and humiliated. All the rage inside her is finally liberated, changing her divine nature to darker ways that she never expected.
A story that puts on the spotlight Demeter, an often forgotten goddess of the Greek pantheon despite how relevant her field was; her quest for recovering Kore will take her to finally confront the patriarchal structure established by Zeus in his rise of power after the Titanomachy, just substituting one tyrant by another. What started being a goddess of life becomes a chthonic divinity, embracing death as a part of herself just to protect her dearest daughter Kore.
I kinda liked Papadopoulou's prose, but felt a bit conflicted with the mashup done with a more epic way of telling and expressions that felt anachronic with the setting; said that, the world-building is excellent, with Papadopoulou interpreting and mixing several myths to create a cohesive story.
Winter Harvest is an excellent feminist retelling of Demeter and Persefone myths; an excellent read if you like mythology inspired fantasy. A strong debut which only makes me want more books by Papadopoulou.