Tag Archives: Kate Quinn

Daughters of Rome

Written by Kate Quinn

387 pages

Review by Emma Harrison

 

From the moment I picked up this novel I was swept up into the world of Ancient Rome. Set in the year 69 A.D. after Emperor Nero’s death, I was captivated by the Year of Four Emperors, a time of chaos in the once grand empire.

After Nero dies the Roman Empire is up for grabs. A bloody coup interrupts the lives of two sisters, Cornelia and Marcella, and now they must navigate the turbulent waters disturbing their previously settled world. Cornelia is a grand Roman wife, and her ambitions are centered around her husband since she has a Lady MacBeth-like quest to become Empress. Marcella is not a social butterfly and she doesn’t have social ambitions like her sister. As blood spills around them, both ladies, and their two female cousins, must make their way in this unsettled world.

I appreciate the fact that this story is told from the point of view of the women. Instead of the women being presented as adornments for the men, in this story the men serve as the backdrop and the women remain the focus. I can’t comment on the accuracy of the history of the era because I know little about Ancient Rome, but the events seemed believable to me as I read. Otherwise, I found this novel to be an inclusive trip into a time that helped set the course for everything that came after it.

Kate Quinn is also the author of the national bestseller Mistress of Rome, which I had previously read and enjoyed. Daughters of Rome serves as a good prequel for that first novel. Quinn’s knowledge of Ancient Rome is obvious, and I’m thankful that she has shared her love of the era through her stories. I’m looking forward to reading her third book, which will also be set in Ancient Rome.

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Emma Harrison is a writer who is starting a blog reviewing books, movies, television, and anything else that needs reviewing. Look for her blog coming soon.

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Empress of the Seven Hills

Written by Kate Quinn

Published by Berkeley

510 pages

Review by Tracey Skeine

Here is yet another historical novel set in Ancient Rome, but Kate Quinn’s Empress of the Seven Hills stands in a class all its own. I was already a fan of Quinn’s from her previous two Rome centered novels, Daughters of Rome and Mistress of Rome, and while this new novel doesn’t focus on the same characters as her previous book, I found it equally captivating. Her research on Ancient Rome is meticulous, and what I appreciated as someone writing a book about that era myself is that where she was honest about where she changed the history. I understand that sometimes writers have to fudge the facts to make their stories work, but I like that Quinn didn’t try to hide it. Sabina is a very modern heroine, craving adventure, and she was brought to life through Quinn’s unique writing voice. This is what historical fiction should be, a sweeping, epic plot, historical details, believable characters, and sprightly dialogue. I will be looking for Quinn’s next novel.

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Tracey Skeine is graduating with her degree in English Literature in June 2012. She is currently working on her first novel set in Caesar’s Rome.

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