Sunday, April 11, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ April: Mistress of Rome

Title: Mistress of Rome
Author: Kate Quinn
Setting: Rome, 1st century
Rating: 4.3 pearls
Warnings: Graphic violence and abuse, numerous sexual situations; not recommended for readers under 18 (edited to add: at least three f-bombs present)

OK, so I cheated a little. I didn't finish my book for March because I received Kate Quinn's Mistress of Rome and read the first few pages. Then I couldn't stop. I decided it could be my historical read for April. March's post will come later. (I never did like to do things in order...)

Synopsis: Mistress of Rome chronicles the life of Thea, a Jewish slave girl in the 1st century, starting with her life as a young slave to the spiteful Lady Lepida, and ending with her interactions as mistress to Rome's Emperor Domitian.

What I liked: The attention to detail. Sure, the battle scenes were rather graphic but I appreciated Ms Quinn's desire to stay as true to the brutality of the time as possible. There was a lot of sex but it was, thankfully, glossed over for the most part. I appreciated the author's note explaining which parts of the story were fictionalized in order to expand her fictional telling of real events.

What I didn't like: The POV flip-flops. It wasn't even the fact that the story was written in 3rd and 1st. I had no problem with that and I think I was better able to relate to Thea's character by reading her in 1st person. My problem was with Lepida's POV being 1st person, too. The first few times in her POV I was confused and had to go back and remind myself that I wasn't reading Thea in that moment, I was reading Lepida. These 1st person sections are clearly marked with the character's name but I had a little trouble getting used to the switches. (I admit, part of me also did not want to read the vicious Lepida's character as if she was me.)

Who would like this: I don't think it qualifies as a "romance" and I don't believe it really qualifies as "clean." However, readers who, like me, enjoy an occasional tale that doesn't turn history into an unbelievable fantasy, would like this book.

Overall: I loved this book. I was crying by page 9 and cried off and on 'til the end. I'll probably reread it and I eagerly look forward to Ms Quinn's future works. Bottom line, I don't regret paying for this book.

*Disclaimer: I have not been paid in any way, shape or form for this review. I purchased this book and this review is my honest opinion of this work.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This Just In!!

I received three new books in the mail today. The best part about these books is the fact that each of these authors is a goodreads author. I'm excited to support my fellow goodreads authors!

1. Mr Malcolm's List by Suzanne Allain. I have enjoyed the quirkiness of the author in her blog and on goodreads so I'm sure to enjoy her take on the Regency era. With influences like Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, how can I not?

The blurb (as taken from goodreads):

The Honorable Mr. Malcolm has a secret. This elusive matrimonial prize, long the target of desperate debutantes and their matchmaking mothers, is well known for his fastidiousness. What is not well known is that he has a list of qualifications for his future bride.

Can any woman hope to win the heart of such a hardened critic? Selina Dalton can only try her best. And when she begins to succeed, Jeremy Malcolm is not sure whether he has discovered the perfect woman...

Or the perfect hoax.

2. The Importance of Almack's by Denise Patrick. I've wanted to read this ever since I read a particular review on Amazon. The reviewer was upset that this story lacks graphic love scenes. I immediately added it to my wishlist. It's so hard to find clean romance from current authors!

The blurb (as taken from goodreads):

Banished and disowned for saving a stranger's life...

In Regency England, lineage and vouchers to Almack's are everything, but Pamela Clarkdale has neither. After her father casts her out, she considers herself fortunate to have obtained a position as a companion to an elderly widow.

Kitt Covington has sworn off Almack's and marriage. Why attend one when he has no interest in the other? Guilt, however, is a powerful motivator. Knowing he caused Pamela to be thrown out of her home, he proposes a sham betrothal between them to ease his conscience.

Kitt's offer is tempting and Pamela agrees, with the caveat that the betrothal will disappear at the end of the season. But not only is Pamela refused vouchers to Almack's, her family is scheming to destroy her to protect a secret she doesn't realize she knows. When the twenty-year-old web of lies and deceit begins to unravel, will Pamela and Kitt discover that Almack's isn't really that important after all?

3. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. This book promises excitement, adventure, passion, and intrigue in ancient Rome. I am also warned that it can be quite graphic in these areas. Still, I'm looking forward to the read.

This book's official release date was April 6. Amazon shipped me a copy on the 5th and it arrived today, the 7th. How's that for competence? Yeah, Amazon and the USPS!!

The blurb (as taken from goodreads):

First century Rome: a world of depravity, blood, and secrets. The enigmatic Emperor Domitian watches over all, fearing murder from every side . . . except from the woman who fascinates him most.

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea; musical, wary, and passionate. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea and her mistress will become rivals for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life – 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 streetwise child, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and ruthless Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: a slave girl who has come to be called the Mistress of Rome . . .

Based on the life and death of one of Rome’s most depraved Emperors.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin