More than one reader of Goddess has asked me, in so many words, "What the heck is going on in this story?" Here's a bit of a cheat sheet. It's not long, I promise. Short short answer: it's a take on the original (if there is an actual original) myth, but not intended to be a retelling of it.
The story of Persephone, daughter of Zeus, and her abduction by Hades, god of the underworld, and subsequent marriage to him, is the story of why we have a fallow period in autumn and winter, and a blossoming and growing period in spring and summer.
The traditional story is that it was something of a forced marriage after the initial abduction (see the Bernini sculpture), at least at first and at least until Hades tricked Persephone into eating a few pomegranate seeds which caused her to desire to return to the underworld after she was released. I read a different take on the story, one that suggested their relationship was not as forced as many think, and decided to play with the idea.
Goddess is a story of a road trip and an adventure, perhaps a delusion, who knows, and a sex romp. It can be read straight, no problem. Persephone tells the rangers she doesn't know what happened to her, and we should probably accept that in the end it doesn't matter whether it was real or not.
What the heck is Papagena, from Mozart's The Magic Flute, doing in the story? I needed a girlfriend for Harry (Hades), and I decided she ought to be a sprite. That's all.
Anyway, read it like the romp it is, not an attempt to teach anyone about Greek or Roman myths.
Almost forgot: Hebe. She was cupbearer to the gods until she had a wardrobe malfunction while serving. Given the gods' behavior generally it's hard for us to see why that would be such an affront, but it was enough for Zeus to fire her. She could have worked in a spa, too (that's a jug of bath water she's carrying in the cover image), but I decided a bar was more fun. Is Hebe a goddess? Her underwear says she is, but who knows?
Mrs. H: Hera, mother of Hebe
Mrs. D: Demeter, mother of Persephone and goddess of the harvest
Harry: Hades (sort of)
Mr. Z: the big guy himself, Zeus
Ranger Jacqueline: a total figment of my imagination, but I'd sure like to meet her
Harley-Davidson: a U.S. maker of iconic motorcycles, but you already know that
Papagena's trill: From Mozart, of course, but as I was starting the story I heard it from a high school girl walking with a friend, just a short happy cascade of notes.
An Internet search on any of these folks will turn up enough material to keep you busy for months. There's lots of hot art and sculpture, too.