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Ipatia’s Choice

Review by Rea Keech

Lipsi’s Daughter gives us a picture of what life in Greece was like at the end of the 20th century for a girl raised in a family with conservative values. Ipatia conforms to the expectations of society without rebellion—except that she wants to go to the university even though her grandfather and relatives want her to get married immediately after high school and have children.

Readers of this 2014 novel who have read the 2015 Helena’s Choice will be familiar with some of its themes. Lipsi’s Daughter begins in 1988, thus giving a more contemporary picture of Greek society than Helena’s Choice, which begins in 1838. Yet in both novels, the girl has two men who are interested in marrying her. In both novels, the girl falls in love with one of them, the one who is skilled in Greek art history and archeology. And in both novels, the marriage decision for the heroine is put on hold as the story develops.

The reason for the delay in Lipsi’s Daughter that allows Ipatia to go to America and graduate from the university is unique if somewhat wanting in credibility. What the novel does well is to show what it is like to be immersed in two cultures at once.