Review: “The Cassandra” by Sharma Shields


Release Date: February 12, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: Historical Fantasy


“Mildred Groves is an unusual young woman. Gifted and cursed with the ability to see the future, Mildred runs away from home to take a secretary position at the Hanford Research Center in the early 1940s. Hanford, a massive construction camp on the banks of the Columbia River in remote South Central Washington, exists to test and manufacture a mysterious product that will aid the war effort. Only the top generals and scientists know that this product is processed plutonium, for use in the first atomic bombs.

Mildred is delighted, at first, to be part of something larger than herself after a lifetime spent as an outsider. But her new life takes a dark turn when she starts to have prophetic dreams about what will become of humankind if the project is successful. As the men she works for come closer to achieving their goals, her visions intensify to a nightmarish pitch, and she eventually risks everything to question those in power, putting her own physical and mental health in jeopardy. Inspired by the classic Greek myth, this 20th century reimagining of Cassandra’s story is based on a real WWII compound that the author researched meticulously. A timely novel about patriarchy and militancy, The Cassandra uses both legend and history to look deep into man’s capacity for destruction, and the resolve and compassion it takes to challenge the powerful.” (via Goodreads)


My Thoughts

cassandra-coverIn this retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Cassandra, Mildred thinks herself a reliable narrator, yet she only sees as much as her visions want her to. To the rest of the world, she’s vulnerable, naive, and too batty to believe—but just eccentric enough to befriend. The violent and madding things she sees in her visions point to a terrible future of agonizing deaths and self-inflicted destruction on an unimaginable scale. When she not only fails to prevent it but is complicit in making it come true, whatever power sending her the visions—or perhaps the very prophecies themselves—punish her harshly…

Read the rest of this review at

I had been born here but my birth was a presumption. My home was in a region that my grandparents and great-grandparents had misshaped and bullied, that my parents and peers continued to bludgeon and disrespect. When I walked, I began to hear the very earth groan beneath my feet. What did it mean to be born white in this country, to speak a language germinated not here but overseas? To infest and control but to never belong or care for, like a parasite? What horrors had we committed, what horrors did we continue to commit, to the original inhabitants, Nicky and her kin?

Thanks to Henry Holt & Co. for sending me a review copy.

Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or get it from your public library.

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