The myth of Hades and Persephone gets a sexy, modern update in this month’s romance column.
★ Neon Gods
The Hades-Persephone myth gets a modern spin in Katee Robert’s imaginative retelling, Neon Gods, the first book in the Dark Olympus duology. In this clever and sexy tale, Persephone is a socialite forced into an unwanted engagement to the murderous Zeus. In her flight from the announcement party, she runs across the River Styx and into the arms of Hades. She thought he was dead, or a myth, but he’s very much alive, attractive and determined to hate Zeus. They make a mutually beneficial bargain to enter into a (sometimes very public) sexual relationship, hoping to humiliate the man they both despise. But the brooding Hades finds the sweet and sunny Persephone appealing in other ways, and they soon find common ground, along with a fiery passion. They don’t believe it can last, and Robert conveys the sense of impending doom looming over their uncommon, forbidden love. Peppered with sizzling erotic scenes, Neon Gods is dangerous, fun and difficult to put down.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Why Katee Robert's written not one, but two romances inspired by Hades.
Heart and Seoul
In Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick, 25-year-old Hara Wilson heads for South Korea to seek out her birth parents after a lifetime of feeling ambivalent about her cultural identity. Apprehensive but ready for adventure, she steps off the plane and right into a meet cute with a young businessman, Choi Yujun. Discovering her roots takes precedence over a fling, of course, but then Yujun makes himself available as tour guide and explainer of Korean culture. Hara finds herself fascinated and enchanted with it all—including Yujun. Frederick shows Hara’s burgeoning appreciation for her birth country through lush descriptions of the food and sights of Seoul. But as Hara’s search for her roots begins to pay off, she’s left feeling more muddled about her place in the world. And the vacation romance is splendid until the ties that bind Hara and Yujun are revealed to be more tangled than they could imagine. Heart and Seoul is bittersweet (don’t worry—there’s a sequel set for later this year), but Hara and Yujun are a swoon-worthy couple, and there’s longing, loss and love on every page of their story.
How to Survive a Scandal
A lady marries a commoner to avert destructive gossip in How to Survive a Scandal, the first book in Samara Parish’s Rebels With a Cause series. Lady Amelia leads Regency society as an accomplished beauty and has recently become engaged to a duke. But when she’s discovered in a compromising position with Benedict Asterly, a brash but successful manufacturer of steam locomotives, that engagement is off. Amelia finds herself married instead to the unpolished Benedict and living in a large but neglected house far, far from her previous life in London. The pair is like the proverbial oil and water and must grapple with matters of class, wealth and power on their path to love. Amelia and Benedict are an appealing pair, and watching them become their better selves—the heartbeat of all satisfying romances—is delicious and thoroughly gratifying.