Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: DAUGHTERS OF ROME, by Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is on her way to becoming the best ‘All-That's-Ancient-Rome’ historical fiction writer ever. I loved reading her first book: Mistress of Rome- never read anything like it before-Fabulous (read that review here).

In this year’s novel, Daughters of Rome, Quinn brings us into the lives of the four 'Cornelias'. Patrician nobility at its best, the young women take us through a roller coaster of emotions as they live in splendour, grandeur as well as gruesome tragedy. Such young lives (the eldest is only in her early twenties!), yet the ‘Cornelias’ manage to master charioting, espionage, perpetual weddings and divorces, enthronements and coup d’etats- not to mention clandestine loves and rendez-vous...hmmm, all that within the governance of four emperors!

Quinn’s knack for crafting exciting novels on ancient Rome and making them the most fascinating read has to do with more than just her captivating characters but also with her detailed surroundings. I’m not talking about boring laid out sceneries- No- I’m talking about serving up a whole Roman feast to describe events that took place. For example,  Daughters of Rome includes detailed menus that only an expert in Roman times can tell you about. Loads and loads of unimaginable delicacies of the finest cuisine were served (some of it certainly objectionable by our times!). Not only does this bring the mood to the setting; it also brings in the attitude and way of living of the ancient nobility. It also gives a flair of how this all adjusted depending on the Emperor in power.

Food and feasts are not all that are being lived through this novel. In Daughters of Rome we experience the Chariot races as well as blood baths and slayings. I could not however have survived a book filled only with these. In fact, these vivid scenes were but the setting in which the heroines were immersed. What I loved most about this book was the growth and change the Cornelias themselves experienced. They lived a full-circle life that brought them to a turnabout construed by their own will and determination; sometimes to their own demise. Not all was a ‘happily ever after’.

What can I say... if you’re going to read about Ancient Rome, you want absolute beauty and abundance to parallel the most decadent and horrid. Kate Quinn is master at creating this by truly bringing ancient history back to life and absorbing you right into it.

Loved it of course.

Note:  Please be back tomorrow for Kate's amazing Guest Post Plus Giveaway!


BurtonReview said...

Fabulous review, Lucy! I've got this in my big pile, I am going to read this one before Mistress, you think that would be ok? Since it is a prequel, I was hoping I would be safe!

Roberta said...

DH and I are so hooked on Rome after watching the HBO series...we actually bought it on blue-ray this year so we can watch it over and over. I love the dresses...they are sorta pre-Josephine empire style...just a little less Great review and I have to read the first one real quick so I can catch up...soon ;)

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I've hear so many great things about this book!

Mirella Patzer said...

I purchased Mistress of Rome and now I'm very excited about Daughters of Rome. I would dearly love to win a copy to add to my collection. Being born Italian/Canadian, I have a strong bond to Italy. My heart is there and has always been there among the vineyards my family still owns. Ancient Rome is my favourite era in Italian historical fiction. I admire the author very much for being able to write novels in such a complex, but wonderfully rich period of history.

Linda said...

I've been reading/hearing such great things about this novel. I always think of Ben Hur when I see something about chariot races. Ancient Rome sounds very interesting.

Loretta said...

Love reading your review. Sounds like a definite 'must read'!

Terry said...

What a great review - certainly piqued my interest for reading this book!