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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Chasing Athens is a spirited work of fiction written by Marissa Tejada. Ava Martin is a “small American college-town girl” from Ithaca, NY. She gives up her career and life to live in Greece for her husband’s job. Unfortunately, once there, she finds herself alone most of the time. With the help of two amazing friends, Ava does her best to fit in. Before long, she finds herself falling in love with the Athenian lifestyle. Then suddenly her life bottoms out. After being married less than a year, her husband wants a divorce. Ava is torn - should she stay in Greece or move back to Ithaca? Evading thoughts of self pity, she has “coffee by day” and “cocktails by night.” Ava decides to stay in Greece through the summer. She finds herself temporary employment, and begins to soak up Greece: the scenery, the nightlife and even the riotous Athenian environment. Just as she is beginning to enjoy her independence, an emergency causes her to return home! Alone, in her favorite childhood thinking spot, Ava realizes she has spent her whole life pleasing others. Now for the first time, she will do what pleases her. This will not be the end, but the beginning of her life.
Writing from her heart about a place she loves, Marissa Tejada reveals her passion for Greece in Chasing Athens. From the opening scene, the culture and language of Greece lure the reader into the story. Humor, fun and “real life crisis” are woven into the fabric of the plot. The characters are well defined, displaying a vast array of personalities, blending the many cultural differences. The protagonist’s character is portrayed with heart-felt emotion; she is daring, yet afraid, as she strives to find herself. The imagery of the setting is lavishly graphic, from the blend of ancient and modern architecture, crystal blue waters, and breath-taking island views to the tumultuous streets due to economic distress. The characters face many conflicts, personally (man vs. man) and culturally (man vs. society). The over-riding theme of overcoming in the midst of chaos is depicted in the loss of relationships and protesting against the government. These two distinct elements keep the action fluid and promote character development. Chasing Athens is more than a romance novel; it is a story of self discovery.