Have you ever had a book that you can’t stop staring at because it’s so beautiful? Last week, I received Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower You, written and illustrated by Ann Shen. The book is so god damn beautiful that I wish I could tear every page and frame them. (but I’m not a heathen who tears books apart. Not often, anyway.)
From the beloved author and artist behind Bad Girls Throughout History comes this lushly illustrated book of goddesses from around the world. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess whose love overcame mortality. Mazu, the Chinese deity who safely guides travelers home. Lakshmi, the Hindu provider of fortune and prosperity. These powerful deities and many more are celebrated in gorgeous artwork and enlightening essays that explore the feminine divine and encourage readers to empower themselves. Ann Shen’s signature watercolors make Legendary Ladies a unique, gift-worthy homage to the mighty women within.
Legendary Ladies by Ann Shen:
There are SO many things to love about this book. The best thing about it is the beautiful illustrations of the legendary ladies, all drawn in a gorgeous watercolour style that I just adore. I also love the complete variation in the ladies that Shen has chosen to feature – from Greek to Welsh, there are 50 incredible pages and I love them all!
For people into empowerment and motivation, there are so many books out there – but this one is unique. I’ve never seen a book that focuses on legends and myths to bring inspiration, and Legendary Ladies does it so well. Each page describes who the legendary lady is, and then gives a quick reason why each lady empowers you to do something amazing. Whether you need a push to step out of your comfort zone, do something brand new, or start something major that will change your life, there’s inspiration in here for everyone!
For this blog tour, I’ve been asked to focus on one legendary lady in particular. I’m going to be focusing on Nyai Loro Kidul, the Indonesian mermaid goddess of the sea.
Nyai Loro Kidul
The mermaid goddess of Java, Nyai Loro Kidul was originally a mortal princess when her father married a wicked woman who became her stepmother. Jealous of her exceptional beauty, the stepmother poisoned Nyai Loro Kidul’s bath water one night, which caused her entire body to erupt in painful, disfiguring boils. Banished from the kingdom because of her how hideous appearance, the princess wandered the forests until she reached the south shore of the island. A voice called out to her from the green seas, telling her to jump into the water to heal her wounds and become a goddess. She dove in and emerged more beautiful than ever, transforming into her full divine mermaid form.
Now the people of Java pay her offerings of fresh flowers, shells, and fruit, tossing the gifts into the water. She lives in the South Seas, attended by a court of nymphs and fairies. Humans don’t swim in those seas lest she catch them and take them back to her court. Nyai Loro Kidul is especially fond of young, handsome men in green swim trunks, her sacred favorite color (also the color of her hair).
Call on Nyai Loro Kidul in a time of transformation, when you’re ready to step into the next level of your life.
The first thing that stood out to me on this page, apart from the illustration, was the last line about when to call on this goddess. I’m currently making a lot of changes, including working out my priorities, what I want to do and changes I want to make, so it’s perfect!
I also love this page for one very funny reason. When I was a kid, I wrote a story called Lily’s Adventure Life (which you can actually read here!). In this story, Lily, a normal young girl who felt overshadowed by her sister, was at the beach one day when she fell in the sea, landed at the bottom, and became a mermaid. (Far-fetched, I know, but I was 11.) Lily went on to have a massive adventure, meeting friends and becoming the mermaid she always dreamed of being.
That’s the reason this page jumped out to me. It made me think of my story instantly, so I love it! I’m definitely going to be reading more about Nyai Loro Kidul because her story fascinates me.
Some of my other favourites…
There are so many amazing pages in this book that I could say they’re all my favourites, but these are a few that really stood out to me as I flicked through!
I’m SO happy that I received a copy of this book because it’s definitely one of my favourites. If you want to have a look at some of the other pages in the book, please visit some of the other bloggers on the tour! I can’t wait to read all of their posts! Here’s the schedule for the tour (I’m on the last-but-one day of the tour, so almost all of the posts are up already!):
Note: I received this book from Faye Rogers PR in return for an honest review. Thanks, Faye!
Click the links below to buy a copy of Legendary Ladies* or read about it on Goodreads:
*Note: Affiliate links used – click here for details. 🙂