Book Review: Mistress of Rome


May 16, 2010 by Renee

Okay, I once said I wouldn’t do book reviews on my blog. I had many reasons and all of them make sense only to me. But, I’m making an exception this time. Why? I found a book that gave me such an amazing reading experience, by a NEW author, that I had to share this. A lot of times new authors or authors with only one book published aren’t picked up by new readers simply because they aren’t sure. Well, I’m here to make you sure of this book. Not because I’m a friend, not because I got this book free (I paid full price, no autographs, no discounts) and not because I’m sucking up.

So here it is:

Mistress of Rome Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, what can I say that can express how much I enjoyed Mistress of Rome? Hmm. I enjoyed this book as much as I’d enjoy a quiet evening with Mr. Owen. Yes, that much.

I was swept into the story effortlessly and carried along with the characters. I went into the reading figuring as a first novel, if I enjoyed the read, as I’ve enjoyed other writing here by this author, I’d give it 3 or 4 stars. I’d read reviews about Mistress of Rome that made me nervous. The POV jumps, the ‘gratuitous sex’ and the blood. Well, none of that seemed an issue for me. The POV shifts were seemless and easy to follow, Quinn’s writing was a dream to read and often I forgot I was actually reading. That’s rare. The sex? Not graphic, not gratuitous and not ‘scandalous’, it fit with the story. This was ancient Rome for crying out loud. Full of intrigue, suspense, romance and that Roman something that makes you wish you could go back in time for just a taste of what it was like to live among such power, such passion, and such…what’s the word? Luxury…indulgence.

I loved Thea who did what she had to do in order to survive. I hated Lepidia, and I mean hated. Kudos to Quinn for creating such a perfectly despicable character.

My heart went out to Vix who made me chuckle more than once. Such a delightful boy who I’m really glad is not my kid.

The Emperor, Dominitian (spelling is probably wrong), I found myself at times attracted to this character but more often appalled. Well done.

Sabina, I can’t wait to read more about her. Marcus is my hero and I actually nearly (nearly, not quite) cried for Paulinus and all that he endures. Arius..I want one of him. We all should have an Arius in our life.

Okay, I’ve gone on and on about characters so I’ll wrap this up by saying that I highly recommend this book. It has been an eternity since I’ve read historical fiction that absorbed my imagination and made me want to keep reading as Mistress did. Years in fact. I dreamed about the characters….some rather disturbing and disjointed dreams, but the story stayed with me nonetheless. I cannot wait for Kate to release her next book. I would wait in a line up full of stinky irritating people at the crack of dawn to buy it. If you know me at all, that says a lot. I won’t promise how many of my fellow waiters would survive…but I think this author is worth the risk.

So, why am I so excited and in love with this book that I devoted a blog post to it? Well, other than what I pointed out above, the most important thing is that since I focused on writing, studying the do’s and don’t’s and learning about technique, style and all of that, I haven’t found many books that I could ‘lose’ myself in. I fell into Mistress and didn’t want to be found. Thank you Kate for bringing me back to that wonderful feeling. I look forward to the next one.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Mistress of Rome

  1. Kate Quinn says:

    That is one of the nicest reviews I have ever had. Renee, thank you.

  2. Renee Miller says:

    Keep writing like that and you'll have more. But you start slacking and I make no promises.

  3. Very good review, Renee. Brava, Kate. Sounds like a wonderful historical read. I'll catch up later.

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I like to write stuff. Sometimes it's funny. I've published some novels and short fiction. I also battle an addiction to cake and potato chips, and I sometimes have inappropriate fantasies involving Kevin Spacey.

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