Today we are celebrating authors who’ve made it, those with books on the shelves at your favorite bookstore. You all know I’m a history nerd so I decided to focus on the best historical fiction novel I’ve read in a long, long time.
Mistress of Rome by KATE QUINN
Synopsis: Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress’s rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.
As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.
My Thoughts: This book was amazing! And it’s a debut novel so that’s even better! I’ve heard agents say Rome is impossible to sell, but this was a riveting story from start to finish. My favorite character was Lepida. She reminded me of a Scarlet O’Hara you just wanted to strangle through the whole book. And talk about voice! I got excited every time the POV shifted to Lepida.
If you enjoyed the movie Gladiator, (and who didn’t?) then you’ll love Mistress of Rome. It’s a history lesson in itself, but without ever losing sight of the plot. There is a ton of blood and gore in the Coliseum (all historically accurate) and includes an intriguing look at the Vestal Virgins and Emperor Domitian. There are also some other historical folks who show up so those cameos are like special treats if you know your Roman history. And if you don’t, it’s still a wild ride.
The Books That Deserve 10 Stars tour continues! (Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times.) Head on over to Susan Adrian for the next stop! For the full list you can check out Elana Johnson’s Reading List. Thanks to Elana for organizing this!
That sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing it with us!
Dawn- It is totally a great book!
Intrigued. 😀 Thanks for sharing!
Sounds amazing, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing. I hate staid history texts (I'm chronologically challenged), but I LOVE history. So I travel and read good historical fiction. I'm adding this one to my TBR pile.
Amanda- You're welcome!
VR- My students think I'm crazy because I rarely have them memorize dates. Things like July 4, 1776 are big, but I don't really care when William Howard Taft was born. History is waaaay more than dates!
Sounds like a great book. I completely agree with you "history is way more than dates". Kids at the level I teach love the stories – but if I focus on dates I lose them. I'd rather have them love the stories 🙂
Thanks for the great post and for giving me a book to add to my reading list 🙂
I'm always looking for a great historical fiction book. This one sounds like one hubby and our son would like too. I'm putting it on my list!
Sounds like a very interesting book and I love the cover. Thanks for sharing.
Thoughts in Progress
Ooo, this one looks good! I haven't read a book about Rome in… forever probably. And I love Rome. I'll have to put it on my TR list.
Thanks so much for spreading the awesome! I am totally going to check out this book!
ooo definitely getting that one! And I haven't been here in a bit – love the new look!!!
Sounds awesome! Beautiful cover. Thanks for the recommendation. =)
This book is on my list! Every time I hear someone talk about it I want it more.
Just the cover makes me want to read it. Sounds awesome.
This sounds so good! I am totally adding it to my list. Which is quickly growing out of control.
I *almost* picked this up at the bookstore the other day but got sidetracked by the YA section. *sigh* It's coming home with me the next time I go to the store, though. Definitely.
Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention; I'll definitely check it out! I love historical fiction, mainly because I came to the realization long ago that people are people regardless of the date. Living arrangements change, conveniences change, societal mores change. But people? No.
Oooh this looks right up my alley! I want to read it!
What great book…man the list is getting LONG!
Oh dear. Now I must add yet another book to my already too long "To Read" list.
And…another awesome book to add to my TBR list (which is getting longer than the list of books I've actually read. Looks like I need to get cracking on my reading). Thanks for pointing it out. This event is so much fun!
Thanks for posting this one! I LOVE books about Rome, and it sounds similar to my favorite book The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie (also set during Domitian's reign, and involving a gladiator).
This is going on my MUST READ list right now!
Great review, thanks, Stephanie. When I was in Rome, standing in the Coliseum and the Forum, I really wanted to visiualize what it was like back then. It was hard!
But this book sounds like it really can transport you there. I'm off to check it out! Thanks!
Making history come alive is a talent. Thanks for letting us know about this one!
This sounds like a great book, Stephanie. I love books like this! Great recommendation. 🙂
That sounds really great! Thanks! 🙂
Oh my word, this sounds fantastic. I should've known you'd pick historical fiction 😉 But anything with a heroine like Scarlet O'Hara will catch my interest. And Gladiator? Uh, yeah, count me in. Great review!
Thanks for the heads up on this book. It looks like a great read!
This book sounds fabulous! I am going to put this on my list… thank you for sharing this and spreading the awesome!
I'm due for a historical. This one sounds yummy!
Sounds interesting. I love a well written historical novel. Thanks for the tip.
And thanks for helping to spread the awesome.
Great review, Stephanie. I'm going to tell my husband about this one. He's always looking for Roman stuff. 🙂
I love the Scarlett O'Hara comparison! You've piqued my interest 🙂
The cover made me go "OOOOH!" out loud. How beautiful is that book? And the story. Sounds. Amazing. I am a huge Gone With the Wind fan and I am definitely adding this to my ever-growing reading list. Thanks, Stephanie!
I've always wanted to read this book!
aikychien at yahoo dot com
I have often wished I could find more fiction books on Ancient Rome. I'll be adding this to the TBR list, for sure! Thanks for listing it!
That sounds like a great book.
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