I fell in love with Kate Quinn’s books right from the start-
Mistress of Rome was like nothing I’d ever read before on ancient times (my reviewhere).Then came Daughters of Rome with
its strong willed women- what a story!(my review here).So you can imagine my excitement to want to
read Quinn’s latest:
I was thrilled that many of the characters I had loved in
the prequel (although this book can be read as a standalone) were meshed in the
story. So from the start Empress of the Seven Hills, with its familiarity
naturally brought out the curiosity to find out how these lives would evolve.
Once again, the story is fabulously woven, the characters
vivid with strong-willed women; from Vibia Sabina (sharp spit-fire) whose
thirst for knowledge of history, people and places make travel her passion (but
there’s way more to her than just that..). Along her life path stands Plotina
(wicked mother-in-law…and Empress!) Then there’s Faustina, Vibia’s younger (and
drop-dead gorgeous) sister, who not-withstanding her youth is another clever
girl. Outside this royal family there are more determined women; Mirah for one,
the devoted and strong-willed Jew who stands by her man and her family at all
And what about the men of this story? Well, let’s just say that Vix is no ordinary
kind of guy…son of a legendary gladiator (in Mistress of Rome!), this ‘out-of
my-way’ tough, herculean-type guy manages to sweep your heart. Then there’s
Hadrian, who you can’t help but love to hate (he’s just all bad); Titus who
stole my heart(who can resist a cool, level-headed guy whose heart is in all
the right places-and he’s cute too!) ; and, Emperor Trajan who is bigger than
life- (just the way I like my emperors).There’s more! But you’ll have to read the
Incredibly detailed, Quinn sets a spectacular Roman
presentation. Usual to Quinn's style, nothing is amiss- you are immediately swallowed into a Roman world;
from sparkling opulence down to muddy, raw battle camps and wars. Spectacular. And although this is a story set in ancient
times, these characters make it easy for us to relate, even in this day and
age. Beautifully written.
I devoured close to 500 pages in less than 3 days…Can you
tell I loved this?I did have one regret
though…the last page- I wanted more! But that's also where to my relief I learned I’d have to stay tuned for what
happens next...Yes, there will be a sequel!!
whose heroines are always extraordinary women
of strength, is here with another of her most interesting guest posts.
Truth is that all this week will be a Kate Quinn week
Giveawaywith guest post, review and 2 Giveaways!
Today, after you read her post, kindly leave Kate a comment
and then be sure to enter the Giveaway!!
And now without further ado…Please welcome, Kate Quinn,
a firm believer that no woman should be all about her love life.
Women in the real world who think and talk about nothing but who
they're dating are crashing bores – and so are the women in novels
who have not a thought in their fictional heads but who they are to
marry. But it can be a dilemma in historical fiction: if you are
writing about historical women, usually well-born or moneyed ones,
then quite often their only job in life really was to get
so, I always try to give my historical heroines depth by making sure
they have passions and interests outside love and marriage. Thea, my
heroine in “Mistress of Rome,” is a slave girl who ends up
mistress to the Emperor while nursing a grand and secret passion for
a gladiator, so her love life is of great importance to the plot.
But she is also a talented singer who manages to build a career as a
musician. She loves music, works hard at it, and is proud that her
success brings her a degree of independence even though she is still
a slave. Even when she is co-opted as Imperial mistress, she never
stops thinking of herself as an artist; a woman who can earn a living
in some way other than on her back.
my second book “Daughters of Rome”
I had four female characters, and I made sure that they all had
hobbies and pastimes outside the always-pressing issues of who they
would have to marry next to keep afloat in the snakepit of the Year
of Four Emperors. The heroine Marcella is an amateur historian who
writes biographies of past emperors; in the modern day she'd be
Alison Weir. Even though Marcella will never be able to publish her
work, she still takes satisfaction from it. Her cousin Diana has a
passion, or maybe a mono-mania, for horses and chariot racing –
just like all those little girls today who live at the stables and
want to marry their pony (i.e. me, at ten). Books, politics,
chariot-racing – all traditional pastimes for patrician women of
ancient Rome, even if my heroines are perhaps a bit more
unconventional in pursuing their passions than most women of their
time would be.
newest release “Empress of the Seven Hills” (sequel to “Mistress
of Rome”) presented me with stricter guidelines. My heroine Sabina
is a historical figure, unlike Thea and Diana, and thus I had to
abide by the known facts about her rather than make them up to suit
my story. Much of her life at first glance appears quite
unexceptional: she grew up in a traditional patrician family and in
her teens she married another wealthy patrician, just like many girls
of her time. But her husband was well-known for his wanderlust,
traveling much of the Empire and usually taking his wife with him –
even though it's also documented that their marriage wasn't a happy
one. Aha, I thought, and slowly Sabina took flesh in my mind as a
more interesting woman than the conventional facts of her bio might
indicate. I saw her as an adventurous girl, a savvy world traveler
who brushes aside things like danger and dirt – and who won't
hesitate to defy her husband if it means keeping her freewheeling
life. Sabina will have romantic adventures along the way too, of
course – but her passion for adventure and travel are what really
shaped her character for me, not merely the men who would love and be
loved by her.
if historical women were more limited to marriage and children than
careers and hobbies, there's still room to maneuver. Upper class
women in ancient Rome might not be able to have jobs, but they could
be patrons of the arts; they could be world travelers; they could
pursue (strictly amateur) passions for music or sports or literature.
Lower class women could sometimes make an independent living as
musicians or dancers or artisans; more often they could help their
husbands in some family trade like baking or weaving or shopkeeping.
These are the historical women I want to write about; women who don't
just think about men, but about ideas and hobbies and sometimes just
making a living. In other words, real women – even if they only
live in the pages of a book.
Kate Quinn Author of historical fiction "Empress of the Seven Hills" "Daughters of Rome" "Mistress of Rome" www.katequinnauthor.com
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