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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Review: Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Mistress of Rome - Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is a skilled writer who expertly recreates the world of ancient Rome in this book. That being said, ancient Rome was a pretty horrible place, apparently filled with selfish, hedonistic people. By employing constantly changing points of view in this book, Quinn introduces the reader to several characters, from slaves and gladiators to the emperor, but I couldn't find a single one likable.

I adored Quinn's Borgia books, but this one just felt more like a soap opera style romance, even with its strong basis in Roman history. I could not find any way to relate to or appreciate the main character, Thea. While much of her hardship is due to the fact that she is a slave, I still found it difficult to have much pity for her.

The author creates many varied personalities, blending fictional with historical, with great expertise. Scenes of the Colosseum and Roman landscape combined with the broad cast of characters made this a 4-star read for me, even if I found that the subject matter did not interest me as much as I had thought it might.