Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: "Mistress of Rome" by Kate Quinn

From Goodreads:  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 is another one of those books that I can't believe I waited so long to read.  I could not put it down!  I haven't read many books about this period of time but I feel like this book did an amazing job of bringing the Roman empire to life.  The city, palaces, clothing and jewels were described in such great detail that they created a beautiful background for the story.  I definitely want to read more about this era because of how well Rome was described.

The characters were a unique group.  Lepida was one of the most evil, hateful female characters I have seen in a while.  Sh was so greedy, selfish, mean-spirited...I could go on and on.  I HATED her and was not too sad with the way things ended up for her.  Arius and Thea were strong characters with tortured souls and I loved the romance between them.  It was interesting to watch how both Thea and Arius hurt themselves in order to expiate the pain they felt as a result of their pasts.  They weren't your average couple who fell in love and struggled, there was so much more to them.  I also really loved Vix.  He was such a little smart a** and so smart for how young he was.  He always provided comic relief even in the really difficult parts of the story.  There were also secondary characters that rose to a more prominent role in the story as I got further into it. I didn't pay much attention to characters like Norbanus and Lady Flavia in the beginning but as they became more involved in the story, I found them to be really great characters. 

There were a lot of twists and turns in the story and I felt like I never knew what was going to happen next.  It was never boring as there was always some little intrigue happening and that made want to keep reading.  I stayed up way too late finishing this book because I refused to go to bed until I finished it.  Any fan of historical fiction would love this book.  4 1/2 stars.


  1. I loved this book - she really has a way of bringing the time of Ancient Rome right into the room with you. She has two other books out that share some characters - Daughters of Rome, and Empress of the Seven Hills. I have read and again loved Daughters of Rome, haven't had the chance to read Empress yet, but it's on my shelf. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. I'm glad to hear that Daughters of Rome is good. I will definitely be picking it up soon!

  2. This sounds great! Adding it to my TBR. Have you read The Borgia Bride? Also historical fiction and sounds like a similar tone (even though it deals with a different era).


Imagination Designs