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  • Writer's pictureTonja

Book Review: Daughters of Chaos by Jen Fawkes

Daughters of Chaos by Jen Fawkes gets all the stars for me. This book is flawlessly written. It masterfully combines Greek mythology and little-known history - Civil War era prostitutes in Tennessee.


This novel has a great feminist message, strong female characters, and unforgettable monsters. I had an aha moment in the middle of the novel where I felt like this book was written for me, that I am a daughter of Chaos. We all are.


As a writer, I was particularly intrigued by the book's unique structure. It combined letters to the main character’s daughters with other documents we don’t usually see in a novel. Documents I would never have thought to include in a work of fiction (I won't say what because spoilers). These documents work so well in this book because they are a direct outgrowth of the main character’s passion, translation. Even the letters to the daughters are an act of translation.

For me, the delivery of the story was intriguing in and of itself and made perfect sense for this novel. It opened up possibilities for my own writing but also made me consider the challenges of writing a novel in this structure. When the daughters were addressed or a plural possessive pronoun was used, the reader is reminded that the story is literally being told in a letter (as opposed to happening on the page) - it's effectively a forced tell versus show. Also, close POV is restricted here to what the character writing the letter is willing to share with her daughters and how she chooses to frame it. At the end of the book, I was happy to see the author included a note about her inspiration and how this book came together in this unique way.

I recommend this book for readers of women-centric historical fiction who like a bit of fantasty mixed in. But this is a must-read for novel writers purely because of the structure.

Note: I received an advanced review copy of this novel free of charge via NetGalley.

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