Book Jacket


rank 3068
word count 52724
date submitted 18.08.2012
date updated 20.08.2012
genres: Historical Fiction
classification: moderate

Made to Be Broken: The True Story of Helen of Troy

Shannon Gibson

Who was the woman behind 'the face that launched a thousand ships'? From Sparta to Troy, assassinations to kidnapping, follow Helen's tragic tale.


I am Helen of Troy, the bearer of the face that launched a thousand ships. The woman that caused hundreds of men to fight and die in battle. The one that endured tragedy, grief, and loss.
I prevailed when the gods themselves desired to ruin me.
This is what truly happened those thousands of years ago, from a greedy kidnapper to murder to imprisonment. These are my mistakes, my pain, and my guilt. This is my story.
I was made to be broken.

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ancient greece, ancient history, greek myth, helen of troy, trojan war

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patio wrote 609 days ago

Well, well. I've found another fabulous book: Made To Be Broken. This author is good. In fact, great. She knows how to entertain with intense action. After reading chapter one I was encourage to say, watch out the makers of Lords Of the Rings. This story is going to attract a much bigger audience when (not if) it make into a movie. Maximum stars thus far but still reading

riantorr wrote 493 days ago

Great voice. Good subject matter. Strong opening. Five Stars. First person, historical--well balanced paragraphs. Steady pace. Well done.
Rian Torr,
In French's Forest

Dean Lombardo wrote 578 days ago

Hi Shannon,
Thanks for the entertaining read. I think you do Helen's POV justice, and you have a knack for showing just the right amount of violence without getting gratuitous. I also commend you on the research you must have done on this project.
A few nitpicks in Chapter 1:
"hoping I will not step on my dress." I think in this type of construction "would" works better than "will"
"throwing things at any one of them that came near me." This should say "who came near me."
"knew was the man that stole me away." This should say "who stole me away."
Also, check spelling of "shepardess." Unless you are using some archaic spelling, this word, I believe, is spelled "shepherdess."
Highly starred,
You've sampled my work already. Thank you.

Dean Lombardo

Lenny Banks wrote 599 days ago

Hi Shannon, I read chapter 6. First I have to say, it's not my usual read, but I don't let that get in the way on this site and I read everything. I hate slushy love stories, but I knwo there is an audience out there and I can see that you have put in a lot of work and a lot of research. I think you were clever weaving a historical person into the love story, but fear for future writers re-writing romance into let say modern politics lol. This is a well written book and it kept my interest. the characters were interesting, it would be facinating to hand the book to the historical person and see what they think anout your take on them. Good Luck with this book.

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock.

Andrew Esposito wrote 601 days ago

Made to Be Broken is a good view of Homer's Trojan War from Helen's perspective. Shannon, I think you have conveyed a good insight into the chaotic world that Helen endured. It's obvious that you have researched your subject well. Congraulations on a brave, fresh approach to a well worn classic. Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killingf Paradise

carolinemarler wrote 603 days ago

Your book seems really great, I am looking forward to reading it! Sara Stinson referred me to you :)

Patty Apostolides wrote 605 days ago

I read the first five chapters of this captivating, bewitching story of Helen of Troy. Wonderful, wonderful book that breathes life to Homer's Iliad. The title is clever and aptly describes Helen.

There are two stories in one. The beginning of each chapter describes the present moment, and below that is the action leading up to that moment. Very interesting way of bringing it all together. I felt the anguish, the joy, the fears and hopes of Helen. I know that beauty has always been the driving force of Helen's kidnapping by Theseus, and later Paris, and you focused mostly on that. However, the fact that she is now heir to the kingdom (after her brothers died) makes her a formidable object of desire as well. All that money and power along with her beauty, is very, very attractive. I think that was underplayed.

The interesting part, is that both brothers seemed to always travel together.
Given that one of the brothers would eventually become an heir to the kingdom, would it not be fitting for them to travel separately and to be with trusted servants? Just a thought.

Ch.1 - I noticed that you mixed the present and past tense, making it a little awkward reading.

Ch. 3 - "You are my daughter; no other woman's." This doesn't seem right. Typically, the semi-colon separates two sentences, and the second one is not a sentence.

Ch. 4 - When Helen learned about the death of her brothers, she screamed a lot. However, I did not get the impression that she was that close to them, except when they came and rescued her from Theseus. Maybe you could add a few sentences here and there to show their relationship being closer. You also prepared us for their death earlier when they rescued her, which did not come as a surprise in this chapter.

When Paris made his entrance to Helen's bedroom, that came rather suddenly. I remember when she met him, but the attraction was underplayed. When he made his entrance to her bedroom, what was there about him that made her go with him? I didn't see it, especially if she loved her husband. I remember reading once that one of the goddesses, Aphrodite, I think, had done something to bring Paris into her life. Could that be considered in your story?

I gave this six stars and wish you the best of luck! Will back when I have a free spot.

Patty Apostolides
"The Greek Maiden and the English Lord"

Just TIM wrote 605 days ago

Read the first few chapters and liked very much. Backing for now.

Cherry G. wrote 606 days ago

Made to be Broken Chapters 1 to 8
Thank you for bringing your book to my attention. Your work is of great interest to me because my story is partly about the Trojan War too. It's interesting to see how you've envisaged Helen, Menelaus, Paris, Agamemnon, Cassandra and the others. Fascinating to see the differences and the similarities...I think we both have a sympathy for Helen and Menelaus, but have a different take on Odysseus and Agamemnon!
I congratulate you on your knowledge of the Greek myths and ancient history: you've clearly done a lot of research. And from personal experience I've learnt that writing about such an ancient period is difficult because of the extra effort needed to bring it alive to the reader. I find creating a realistic dialogue, ie one that sounds right for the period, especially difficult. I think you achieve this by really getting inside Helen and revealing how she feels as a woman. In that you span the 4 thousand years and connect with modern women. We may have different beliefs and traditions, have the benefits of modern inventions and own technological devices etc, but we are pretty much the same underneath it all! Well done. I realise you are relatively young, which makes your achievement even more remarkable. Keep up the good work
Just a couple minor nits:
5th chapter, 5th paragraph: " chan(c)e only..."
7th Chapter, 1st paragraph: "..."Posiedon" should be Poseidon.

I've star rated and also placed Made to be Broken on my shelf.
The Girl from Ithaca

Shelby Z. wrote 606 days ago

Made to Be Broken by Shannon Gibson.
This is a very well written book. You craft this story in such a creative way and so stylish. There is a lot to this. The feeling, the depth, the emotions, and the characters.
One thought I had was to draw out her life before she is raped. Perhaps to add more of an easy life for the reader to see before she is thrown into a wild life of pain.
Otherwise you have such a talent as a writer.
Super amazing work.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

P.S. Please take a look at my pirate adventure Driving Winds.

RMAWriteNow wrote 606 days ago

Hi Shannon;
This is a story that is not only exceptionally well told, but contains a staggering degree of knowledge on the subject matter. Your idea of putting a character list was a good one. I have an interest in the subject to start with and felt it benefitted me greatly. I thought your opening line particularly strong and it pretty much had me hooked from then on. You have an easy to read style which makes this a breeze to read. I shall be giving this high stars and wish you well.
The Snow Lily

Debbie R wrote 607 days ago

This is really well-written and you certainly know your subject. I thought the list of characters at the beginning was a good idea - very helpful for the reader.
The opening scene is well-chosen and you describe it well. You show us a close relationship between Helen and her sister. Thet are playing hide-and-seek when Helen is kidnapped and taken to Athens. You describe the twelve-year-old Helen being raped by Theseus sympathetically. The life she has in Athens is quite shocking but this part of her life makes her tough character.
Their is an air of excitement when her twin brothers appear at the palace and explain their plan to take her and her young daughter back home.
This is a nicely-paced first chapter and I particularly like the subject matter. You re-tell this story well and I commend you for taking on such a challenging piece of work.

High Stars
'Speedy McCready'

DWBrown wrote 607 days ago

Very powerful storyline here; being kidnapped and raped at twelve...good job of telling it. It definitely draws the reader in and makes him want to read on. Good suspense...
Many stars...Wlisted for more reading later

D.J.Milne wrote 607 days ago

Hi Shannon
These are my comments on Made to be Broken having so far read the first 3 chapters.
As on over view you have a beautifully poetic tone with which you tell your tale. The young Helen in all her innocence taken by force from Sparta, to be raped and then to give birth to a child, only to be rescued by her courageous twin brothers, Princes of Sparta. Then giving her child to her sister to be mothered, her search for a husband and finally the marriage to Menelaos.
Your prose is very advanced for such a young writer and it speaks of great potential. Your eye for detailed description is at times spot on.
However there are some errors in the book and you need to edit your work. For example

The hungry flames devour what’s left of my heart, rehnnding it into little guilt-ridden pieces. (rehnnding?)
She smiled when I nodded and lead the way, (and led the way)
I do not if my sister is dead or alive. I do not know if my father is looking for me ( I do not know if my sister is dead or alive)
These are three examples but I spotted others too. Editing is an important part of writing, as I'm sure you know. As they say, a gem is only polished by friction, so a good writers work is only polished by editing.
I hope my comments don't get to you. It is easy to just praise people's work on this site without ever bringing to their attention areas for improvement. The most helpful comments on my book have been the hard ones that made me rethink or correct. I am still struggling with punctuation and throw commas around like confetti at a dervishes wedding.
You have a great way with words, a fantastic imagination and a talent that needs to be nurtured and your work will shine all the more if you get rid of the errors.
Starred and on my watch list.
The Ghost Shirt

Keith Gilbey wrote 608 days ago


I will add your book to my watchlist. I would be interested in the opinion of a younger reader / writer on the nature and I think unusual style of my novel Peppermiont. Be back when I have read more.


strachan gordon wrote 608 days ago

Hello Shannon , I am so glad you decided to write about Troy - one of my favourite subjects and I am very impressed at you attempt to evoke that long ago era and create convincing characters . Watchlisted and starred. Would you be able to look at the first chapter of my novel 'A Buccaneer' which is set amongst Pirates in the 17th century , with best wishes from Strachan Gordon.

Sara Stinson wrote 609 days ago

What an amazingly and talented young author you are. I have never seen a writer tell the story from Helen's side as you have. You have pulled it off wonderfully and I am so honored I am one who has had the opportunity to meet you. You portray Helen in her innocent years, and after, in a clear and understandable way keeping with the tone during that time. You then introduce family members and their part in her life.

I have no doubt your book will be published. When it is.....I want to know. I will buy a copy immediately!

To an awesome young author!
Six stars are sprinkled all around!
Sara Stinson
Finger Bones

patio wrote 609 days ago

Well, well. I've found another fabulous book: Made To Be Broken. This author is good. In fact, great. She knows how to entertain with intense action. After reading chapter one I was encourage to say, watch out the makers of Lords Of the Rings. This story is going to attract a much bigger audience when (not if) it make into a movie. Maximum stars thus far but still reading

KMac23 wrote 609 days ago

I'm truly at a loss as to what to say to do your story justice. This book is extremely well-written, and the maturity you possess as a writer at such a young age is amazing! I've only read the first four chapters, but plan on finishing it tonight. It is very good.

I love how you portrayed Helen, fun-loving, innocent, playful and unaware of her beauty until her sister explains it to her. I felt intensely for her when she was kidnapped, and then while she awaited her father to make a decision on her arranged marriage, and also in the death of those she loved so dearly. Menelaos is so sweet to her and protective. The romance continues on even after they are married.

I believe your book will definitely be published someday, and I would be one of the first to buy a copy of it! I have given you 6 stars for this and wish you the best on this site!

A Gate Called Beautiful

Tod Schneider wrote 609 days ago

What an undertaking! You've really put a lot of work into this and it shows. So many attempts at telling history become dreadfully dry in the telling, so I am glad this is not the case here. I like your use of dialogue to make the story come alive. Keep up the good work!
and if you have any interest in children's literature, please take a look at my novel, The Lost Wink.

Adam Thurstman wrote 610 days ago

Good news! Your career as a writer is waiting for you. Writing and concept wise, you have clear skill and talent, if it’s this good at your fist attempt, God only knows how much better you will get, but don’t get tempted to rest on your laurels just yet, as at least 80% of the work after writing a book is getting it published and marketed successfully, however I think you should find this easier going than most. I have only read a bit so far and although not my cuppa tea, it’s plainly brilliant. One if the best books I’ve come across here. Well done, 6 stars.

Adam De-Thurstman
Is Israel Real?

patio wrote 610 days ago

Your pitch promise explosive read. I shall dive in asap

A Nerdy Rogue wrote 610 days ago

The way you write is quite exquisite, I quite fancy your story.
I also like how long your chapters are, as I find it quite frustrating when every chapter is merely 1,000 words. When I read books that condensed I tend to feel that I, as a reader, am being cheated.
You have a lot of desciption, but it isn't overdone. There's enough that you know what's going on and have a bright picture painted in your head, but not too much so that you get frustrated and give up on reading.
Your characters are very vidid and all quite unique, I found myself quite drawn into their lives.

High stars :)

- Bree