Face it! We’ve all stood before a fine Greek marble statue (or saw one in a picture) and did a little dreamy fantasizing of what that statue would look like live and standing before us. Some might even take that dream a little further- knock yourself out! But what if-
That was sort of what happened to awkward, geeky museum conservation expert, Maia Douglas. Well actually what really happened was that the Greek god Eryx (whom I’m more familiar with as Eros) and his Olympian family really exist and live in the modern day. But times are hard on the Greek gods because nobody worships or believes in them anymore. This does not alter them in any way, but it does scatter them so that some have not been heard from for some time. Dionysius is still a big man for the drinking and the orgying, but his cousin Eryx has turned over a new leaf since a certain ‘woman scorned’ goddess has vowed and does kill every woman he might love. So to avoid the poor women being killed and to prevent feeling more guilt than he already feels, Eryx finds a new hobby that does not involve women. He sets out to do his part to preserve the Ancient Greek culture one museum at a time. He has set his sights on the Greek collection at the Toronto Museum for his next project.
Maia Douglas loves the Greek collection at the Toronto Museum because it was her father’s baby project before he became ill. The once great archeologist took his daughter on his digs and taught her a love for this ancient culture, but for Maia, this love was channeled into preserving history instead of discovering it. And this all started when her father discovered and brought back the life sized entirely preserved statue of Eryx. Maia was five when the statue found a home in the museum and she is convinced that the statue winked at the young five year old Maia. She has been fixated on the statue ever since. In Maia’s imagination, the statue comes to life making her erotic dreams play out and she knows its crazy, but she is in love with her marble Eryx.
Things change rapidly when the new museum director, Eric Lord, descends upon the place with new plans and new ways. His move to remove her statue in a long term loan almost breaks Maia’s heart, but in the midst of her anger she is not unmoved by the fact that Eric Lord is her statue in the flesh. And Eric is quite unsettled by her.
The story continues with Eric (Eryx) feeling inexplicably attracted to Maia and unable to entirely avoid the temptation to be with her and to touch her. Maia is equally charmed, but does not understand the way the man blows hot and cold with her. She wonders if he’s just playing a game with her since he seems very experienced and gorgeous next to her plainness. Eric is only one of her worries because now Maia is experiencing dreams that take her back to ancient times that involve the god Eryx and his human lover Chloe where she even sees Chloe’s death administered by Nemesis the goddess of retribution. Maia also experiences attempts on her own life- attempts that really worry Eric though he won’t explain why that is at first. Eventually, the truth about Eric/Eryx and his curse come out and then the real ‘fun’ begins (and no, it was not really fun) leading up to an unexpected ending.
The plot in this story was interesting to me not because Rosanna Leo utilized the Greek gods, but because of which ones she chose- Eryx, Dionysius, and Nemesis with cameos by Apollo and Artemis. I also found the controlled, responsible and sensitive version of Eryx quite a change- not sure how I feel about that. The plot had passion (oh baby did it, but we’re talking the god of love here) and excitement trying to foil Nemesis’ plots. It offered funny scenes with Maia and her friends as well as between Maia and Eric. It also offered poignant ‘sacrifice for true love’ stuff near the end.
For some reason I just could not feel it once I got just so far along. Partly, it was Maia herself. I liked her at first and then my opinion changed. For instance, at the beginning, I felt like Maia was portrayed as a free-spirited say-what-I’m thinking dreaming-of-my-god kind of gal, but suddenly when she finds out that her god is real she turns into this I’m a scientist and I don’t believe in anything sort no matter what you do to try to convince me. The Maia who thought her statue winked should have been half way ready to believe when Eric confessed the truth especially when she was faced with inexplicable events like her father’s miracle recover and the rescues he performed twice. I was sympathetic for her near the end after she did finally accept things and fought so hard when trying to keep all her loved ones safe.
Now as to the characters in general, I thought Maia’s friends particularly Dino and Eryx’s cousin Dionysius were good secondary characters. They brightened the scene when they were in it. The dialogue between Eric and Maia was great particularly in the beginning when they were being snarky with each other. I liked that edginess they both had as Eric sought to keep his distance and she tried to put him in his place about ‘her museum’ even while they were feeling the hot attraction.
All in all, it was a nice amusing read.