Daughters of Messene

Daughters of Messene coverISBN 978-0-9941172-6-7
November 2015
Mākaro Fiction
B format, paperback
RRP $35

“Your history, Artemis, is full of
female warriors.”

Artemis has the name of a goddess, but she has trouble living up to it. Instead she usually just runs away. She’s running now … away from the married man she’s been seeing, and the Greek community in New Zealand who think they know what’s best, and into the arms of family in the Peloponnese that she’s never met. It’s 2007. She carries her mother’s ashes and an iPod with recordings, which bit by bit tell the shocking story of what happened to Artemis’ grandmother during the Greek Civil War, over half a century earlier.

Daughters of Messene is a story of a family of women – those who stayed in that broken but beautiful country, one who went to the ends of the earth to escape what she’d seen, and another who returned not knowing what it was she was looking for. A powerful third novel by Maggie Rainey-Smith.

Will be enjoyed by readers of:

  • Contemporary NZ fiction
  • Modern Greek/NZ history
  • Travel fiction and members of book clubs.

About the author

Maggie Rainey-Smith is a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist and book reviewer. Her first novel, About turns, was a bestseller, the first New Zealand novel to be chosen by Whitcoulls as a Guaranteed Great Read. She has short stories, poetry and essays published in journals and anthologies including Landfall, Sport, NZ Listener, 4th Floor Journal and Essential New Zealand Poems. In 2014 she was joint runner up for the Landfall essay prize. She is also a member of three bookclubs.

While researching Daughters of Messene, Maggie travelled to Greece, and ended up at the Mani home of travel writer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, celebrating his Name Day with the locals – an unexpected blessing upon this story.


“Maggie Rainey-Smith’s Daughters of Messene is a powerful tale of migration, friendship, ancestry and war. Part-contemporary, part-historical fiction, it’s the story of daughter Artemis’ journey from New Zealand to Greece to return her mother’s ashes. There she uncovers mater’s secret past connected to the country’s Civil War.” — Siobhan Harvey, Sizzling Summer Reads

“In many ways Daughters of Messene is a tender love poem dedicated to a place and its people, to the profound bonds of blood, and the legacies such bonds leave us. The tale is both touching and vivid, the unfolding masterful, and the novel’s heroines, spirited, huge-hearted and tough (in the very best sense).” — Vana Manasiadis

Read more reviews

The Listener

Otago Daily Times