Love Underground by Alicia Fields
(Signet Eclipse, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-451-21582-6
***
Iíve always loved Greek mythology. The story of Hades and Persephone is a particular favorite, which made me excited to read Love Underground by Alicia Fields. This story is the first in a new series of books based on Greek mythology. While Fields creates an interesting, well-paced story, the romance isnít entirely successful.

Young Persephone lives a sheltered life. Her mother, Demeter, was disappointed by Persephoneís father. Since then, she has raised Persephone alone, and she discourages other men from approaching or interacting with Persephone. When Persephoneís closest friends become engaged to other men, she feels lonely and longs for her life to be different.

Being kidnapped by Hades wasnít what Persephone had in mind for that different life. Soon after he first sees Persephone, Hades decides to bring her to his world and make her his wife. Despite her growing dissatisfaction with her previous life, Persephone refuses to submit to Hadesís wishes. In addition, Demeter wants her daughter back.

Fields incorporates familiar elements of the myth into Love Undergroundóthe bad weather that follows Persephoneís abduction, for example ó while making the story unique. Persephone is a more active participant in Fieldsís version; she comes to recognize the power she holds over Hades because of his attraction to her and desire to please her.

The vividness of the underworld is fascinating. It is a far different world from the one Persephone is accustomed to, and Fields addresses interesting issues relating to the differences, such as how Persephone would cope with the lack of sunlight.

In spite of the intriguing setting, the romance in this story isnít completely satisfying. Hades first admires Persephone because of her beauty and her lively nature. Aside from these qualities, itís unclear why he loves her. As someone who is familiar with the myth on which the story is based, I knew that these two would end up together. But the author seems to rely on the myth to explain the connection instead of showing why the two love each other.

As for Hades, he starts as a mysterious character, and readers learn more about him as the story progresses. While his kidnapping of Persephone isnít the act of a gentle man, his subsequent actions show him to be both gentle and patient. Although lonely, heís compassionate and devoted to those he cares about. In the end, Persephone is the more inscrutable of the two.

I ultimately enjoyed many aspects of Love Underground. Readers who read it looking for a compelling retelling of the myth are likely to enjoy it, too.

--Alyssa Hurzeler


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