Review: Brides of Rome by Debra May Macleod

☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

It is a world of power and privilege, secrets and sacred duty. It is the world of ancient Rome. And it is the esteemed Vestal Virgins-priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the home and hearth-who protect the Eternal Flame that protects the Eternal City.

Dedicated to a thirty-year vow of chaste service, Priestess Pomponia finds herself swept up in the intrigue, violence, wars, and bedroom politics of Rome’s elite-Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian and his maneuvering wife, Livia-all the while guarding the secret affection she has in her heart.

But when a charge of incestum-a broken vow of chastity-is made against the Vestal order, the ultimate punishment looms: death by being buried alive in the “Evil Field.”

In Brides of Rome, Book One in the Vesta Shadows series, Debra May Macleod skillfully recreates the world of ancient Rome with all its brutality and brilliance, all its rich history and even richer legend. A true page-turner that is as smart as it is compelling, this must-read novel brings the Vestal order to life like never before.



Guest Reviewer Sara’s Thoughts:

Ancient Roman history never lacks intrigue with the dynamic relationships between Caesars, senators, gods and enemies of the empire.  The Brides of Rome tells a familiar story of a harsh and brutal time, from an unfamiliar point of view. 

Pomponia is a Vestal Priestess of the revered Vestal Virgins. A high ranking member of this elite and powerful order, Pomponia’s perspective is one of refined privilege that exerts a subtle but indisputable influence on those who vie for power in Rome.  Pomponia’s fierce devotion to the goddess Vesta is her duty and her passion, but she is also a loyal friend, confidant, and a woman.  I enjoyed Pomponia because she was so strong in all of her responsibilities. She was devout, compassionate, learned, humble and sometimes harsh, but never selfish or indulgent despite her privilege. 

The mix of characters from pompous, spoiled, greedy and weak to brave, benevolent and honorable made for a real page turner.  I recommend Brides of Rome as a very enjoyable historical fiction.

About the Author: Debra May Macleod is an author of historical fiction and nonfiction focusing on the ancient Roman religion of Vesta and the Vestal Virgins. She is privileged to have been invited to participate in research excursions in the Forum Romanum, the Forum of Caesar and Imperial Fora, including places inaccessible to the general public, and informs her writing and work with this invaluable perspective. Debra has a Bachelor of Arts (English, Classics) as well as a law degree. She lives in Canada with her husband and son, visiting Italy often for research (and sun)

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