Saturday, April 3, 2010

[Book Review] Goddess of Spring by P.C. Cast

Goddess of Spring
P.C. Cast
ISBN: 9781440609565
Price: $10.50
352 pages, eBook Edition
Romance
Rating: 4/5
Review Date: Apr. 3, 2010



A couple days ago, I just finished reading the first book in the Goddess Summoning series and I was really looking forward to reading the next book, Goddess of Spring. I was wondering which famous goddess P.C. Cast is going to feature this time around?

The second book in the Goddess Summoning series, Goddess of Spring is the story of Lina, a forty-three year old baker from Tulsa, Oklahoma who, has completely sworn off love and romance and has dedicated her life to the success of her bakery called, Pani Del Goddess only to discover that she owes the IRS a lot of money. Without an accountant and without any idea how to avoid bankruptcy as her incompetent ex-accountant suggested, Lina could only think of one way to save her bakery. Expand the menu but she doesn't want to downgrade her bakery into a burgers and pizza joint so hauling ten cookbooks home from a nearby bookstore was nothing. It was picking the right recipes to add to her menu that was a bit of a challenge because for Lina, through Pani Del Goddess she "had established a solid reputation for preparing breads that were unique and delicious. She couldn't just slap some pesto over pasta and toss a salad on the side of the plate. She wouldn't do it at all if she couldn't do it well. The name Pani Del Goddess meant excellence, and Lina was determined that it would never stand for anything less." Nonetheless, she pored through the cookbooks and realized "she was actually enjoying herself. Delving through the musty old books had become an exercise in Italian history and culture -- two things that had been a constant part of her upbringing." She now had a list of possible main courses but she needed just one more recipe so looking at the last book on her pile, she thought it to be "an unusual coincidence that the woman who baked like an Italian goddess had found an old, discarded copy of The Italian Goddess Cookbook. Her grandmother would have called it la magia del Italia, the magic of Italy." Cracking open the last cookbook proved to be a surprise and thinking to herself "what an incredibly intriguing thought -- to couple the magic of an ancient goddess with the perfection of a recipe that had been passed down from mothers to daughters and preserved for generations. It was such a wonderful, natural idea. To call upon the strength of a goddess through baking! ... whether or not a goddess really listened, was beside the point. It was a lovely, empowering ritual -- one that, if nothing else, could serve to focus her thoughts on the positive and remind her that she should take a moment to enjoy the rich femininity of her chosen career." Asking for the help of the Goddess Demeter and offering to return the favor if she could, not realizing her prayers will be answered so soon, she finds herself in a younger body in the realm of the goddess and going to the Underworld to return the favor granted to save her bakery where she discovers the magic and beauty of the very much dreaded Land of the Dead and discovers that the man behind the myth, the man who rules over the dead ,is very much real and not all like the other fickle-minded gods and goddesses or is he just like them?

We have all read Greek Mythology at some point in our lives and some really feared Hades for what he represented... Death. Hades and the Underworld have always been depicted as something dark, gloomy, devoid of light and life and over all ugly. That is not the case here. In Goddess of Spring, P.C. Cast gives her readers a new perspective of what the Underworld looks like. She challenges her readers to see the Underworld and Hades as something magical and filled with it's own charm, beautiful and amazing.

You'd think that Lina, after hearing the news of her bakery's financial troubles, would retain the services of her accountant, Frank Rayburn, when he said, "I think that what would be more productive for us now is to focus on how you can pay what you owe the government instead of casting blame," and would work with Frank to resolve this IRS problem but instead, she tells him, "Did you not have any checks and balances? The reason I pay you to manage the taxes for my business is because I need an expert... I understand accidents and mistakes, but I don't understand how something this large could have escaped your notice... I am not your boss anymore. You are fired. You have proven yourself to be as incompetent with my business as you are with your choice of attire. My lawyer will be in contact with you. I'll make sure that she has several options drawn up for you to consider. Maybe one of them will keep you out of court." Without any back up plan, firing her accountant, no matter how incompetent he is, was a brave thing for Lina to do.

Most of us fear death and I think it basically boils down to fear of the unknown and Eurydice makes the idea of death more comfortable when she said to Lina, "It is not so terrible Goddess... Though I have been dead but a little while I think I am already beginning to understand... The pains of the living world are already fading away. I miss my mother and ... well... others, but I know that I will eventually be reunited with them. I am, after all, still myself... My body has changed a little, but my mind and heart are the same, which is a great relief to me. What I mean to say is that I have found that the terror of death is worse than death itself." Which is true in most cases like we all tend to worry too much for nothing. We think too negatively and though at times thinking positively can be a real challenge, we all must make a conscious effort to do so.

This romanticized picture of the Underworld won't be complete with lovely, fragrant, white flowers and Lina couldn't help but comment about the lack of other colors and Hades explained that, "It is the color of the Underworld. White represents the purity of death... And so is black. Each black animal owes allegiance to me. The black of night and shadows were birthed in my realm, as is the black of that little death known as sleep. White and black -- the most perfect of colors. They both belong to the Underworld."

When Hades' faithful and loyal daemon, Lapis, said, "...is it not better to experience even a small amount of happiness, than none at all?" I believe the same is true for love... "it is better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all" which I'm sure some people will not agree with me especially if it's a bad breakup because you really loved that person. But I agree with both statements that it is better to experience love and happiness than not at all because despite the loneliness or heartache that comes after, it makes you stronger as a person, inside and out.

To conclude my review of Goddess of Spring by P.C. Cast, I truly enjoyed this book but sadly, it didn't have that lasting effect on me like the previous book, Goddess of the Sea, had on me but this is still worth reading and definitely worth recommending.