Is this a new trend?
Bettany Hughes's book is partly an overview of the many attempts for 28 centuries to pin down Helen's ambiguous character. But the author's real interest is in locating Helen as a historical figure of the late Bronze Age, in describing what life would have been like for a Mycenaean princess of the time, growing up in Sparta and travelling to Troy. Believing that a real woman is the basis for the archetypes, hoping even that one day a body might be found, Hughes visits the places a real Helen would have visited, examines the corroborating evidence and does her best to peel back the layers of worship and storytelling.
To be fair, it sounds like the book is more about the legend of Helen--where it originated and how it has changed, etc., etc.--but STILL. If there's one more new book in this genre in the near future, I think that we'll be able to officially say that we have a TREND.