Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

TItle:  Mistress of Rome

Author:  Kate Quinn

Genre:  Historical Fiction

About:  (Goodreads 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:  Kate Quinn’s characters are fully formed and her setting was carefully researched. Mistress of Rome is a story full of intrigue, politics, and romance – all come together to make for a good read.  At times it got too gory for me but I guess that made the gladiator scenes all the more real. One of the characters seemed really over the top but she moved the story forward – that’s for sure. All in all, it is an entertaining novel.

Recommend?  I think fans of historical (Roman) fiction might enjoy it!

Source:  I bought it.