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A Goddess Among Men


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Underdeveloped characters, major jumps in plot because the author tried to cover such a HUGE span of time . . . it just fell flat.

On the surface, the story is about two strangers who meet and become business partners while in the Amazon. One of them is a quiet, unassuming man who falls in love and simply wants to build a good life with his wife. The other man is immoral, corrupt, uses women like playthings and goes so far as to train women to seduce and sleep with men in power to advance his own cause.

The fact that Julian kept working with Alan after he catches Alan trying to rape his wife on their wedding night was outrageous to me, but it also set the tone for the whole book. The author then virtually ignores Julian to focus on Alan and the shady business contacts he keeps setting up as he moves his business from the Amazon back into the "civilized world".

We don't get much of Julian and his wife Jandira's story until we find out that Julian is dying and, shortly after that, he loses his wife. Specifically, he comes home from the doctor's visit where he's been told he's dying to find that she has fallen and hit her head and is dead. It felt like a very cheap plot maneuver to set Julian up to once again be manipulated by Alan.

Alan arranges for Julian to meet Denise (who Alan is also sleeping with on the side!) and Denise becomes pregnant with Julian's child. How she knows it's Julian's when she's sleeping with both men is never explained. She dies of complications from pre-eclampsia during an emergency delivery. (This death also felt like a cheap plot trick as it was given just a few paragraphs from her symptoms to her death.) When Julian finally admits he is dying, he asks Alan to promise to raise his daughter and see that his shares of the company are handed over to her when she is of age. Instead, Alan sends her away, won't tell anyone where she has gone, and when she is old enough, he sends her to be trained to be one of his prostitute/agents. And the story doesn't really get any better from there.

In trying to cover several decades - Christel, Julian's daughter, is an elderly woman by the end of the story. There are leaps in the plot that leave the reader wanting more. Apart from feeling pity for Christel and the mess that Alan left her due to all the shady business deals, the forced prostitution (which even resulted in Christel being violently gang raped at one point) the book doesn't engage the reader in feeling much of anything for the characters. This is largely due to the fact that the focus of the first 2/3 of the book is on Alan who has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever and the heroes who try to oppose him - such as they are - come off as weak and ineffectual.

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Chapter 1

About the author

Born in 1969, Brazil, Daniel Davidsohn's books include From The Nile to The Euphrates (2009), Mare Crisium (2015), A Higher Power (2016), The Karma Code (2017), Leave Her Out, a 2018 Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist, and A Goddess Among Men (2020). view profile

Published on June 04, 2020

90000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

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