Dancing The Labyrinth: A Dual Time Novel
Dancing the Labyrinth is a dual-time novel that is part of Karen Martin’s Women Unveiled Series, a collection of distinctive feminine narratives that challenge societal boundaries and mores. The series blends Greek mythology, historical research, and imagination in the telling of stories loosely based on real events.
As the first in the series, Dancing the Labyrinth introduces themes of feminine power and the divine. The novel follows, through the eyes of her troubled modern heroine Cressida, the parallels between women’s lives in ancient times and the present.
Fleeing an abusive relationship and a difficult past, Cressida leaves her native Australia for the clear blue waters of the Adriatic. She loses herself in a new job, idyllic, easy-going Cretan life by day, and hard-drinking hedonism by night. Cressida’s natural tendency to catastrophize makes the results of her carousing with the locals seem inevitable, a karmic punishment for what went before.
Pregnant with an unwanted child, possibly fathered by her violent ex, fearful of her genetic legacy Cressida’s once more in turmoil. She heads into a literal and metaphorical storm, one which forces her to seek refuge in a lonely cave. Post panic-spiral, she wakes to find herself transported centuries, into the ancient past, by her discovery of ancient Minoan art. She also experiences mind-expanding visions of ancient priestesses, altering her view of religious life and power, which begins very much rooted in shame and self-blame.
Martin’s lucid prose and empathic characterization makes caring for the passionate Cressida easy, even in the moments when one might wince at some of her life choices, her occasional moments of self-absorption or insensitivity.
Dancing the Labyrinth succeeds in deftly sketching some little-known social and religious history from Crete in the Classical age, making for an absorbing and satisfying entry in the series. It also makes a strong case for feminist history as a tool for vital self-knowledge.
Note: Each novel in the Women Unveiled Series can be read separately. See the review for book 2 The Bringer of Happiness