When I was a teenager, I used to love Phyllis Whitney’s books. They were one of my first introductions to romantic suspense, and I remember devouring the books during lazy summer afternoons. I have not read a Phyllis Whitney since then, but since I had luck revisiting the books of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart, I thought what the heck. I chose Seven Tears for Apollo because it sounded like it would be fun. The book was set in Greece in the early 1960s. Dorcas Brandt was married to Gino at a young age. Gino seemed like a really romantic guy, but he turned out to be a sadistic evil person. He prevented Dorcas from running away from his abuse, and when she tried to get help from an old family friend, Mr. Dimitrious, that friend was run over and murdered by Gino. Dorcas was hospitalized in a mental health institution. Gino died in an airplane crash, and Fernanda, his surrogate American mother, took over caring for Dorcas, and Dorcas’ daughter with Gino, Beth. Fernanda takes Dorcas to the island of Rhodes. Dorcas goes along because Dorcas wanted to talk to Mrs. Dimitrious who had returned to Greece. There’s a mystery about a missing 2000 year old statue head of the crying boy and Gino’s involvement in the theft. There’s also Johnny Orion, a possible love interest for Dorcas.
So what did I think of the book? It was awful! I just wanted to reach into the pages of the book, grasp Dorcas by her neck, and shake the living daylights out of her. The girl was whiny, and she left Fernanda bully her and make decisions for herself and her child. Dorcas went around acting like an unstable, annoying woman who would be a trial to anyone. Dorcas wouldn’t stand up for herself; she let Fernanda make all the decisions, and just cried and moaned about her pitiful existence. I wound up not caring what would happen to Dorcas. I did want to know what happened to the stolen head, and that was the only reason I continued to read the book. I like my heroines strong and resilient, not weak and emotional wrecks. Maybe it was just this one book, so I might try another Whitney. Maybe my tastes changed from my teenage years.