Daughters of Messene

Book Author Maggie Rainey-Smith
Rights Available World excl. NZ and Greece

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’s 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 that was a bestseller in Greece, published by Kedros.

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. In 2014 she was joint runner-up for the Landfall essay prize. Maggie was drawn to writing Daughters of Messene because her father was a NZ soldier fighting in Crete during WWII. While researching the novel, 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 – something Maggie regards as an unexpected blessing upon this story.


Mākaro Press


B format



Contemporary Fiction

Age range

Publication Date
November 2015

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ and Greece

Rights Sold:
Greek, Kedros

Rights Agents:


Nadine Rubin Nathan of High Spot Literary

Contact Mākaro Press about this book

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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, Greek-NZ author and editor