I love reading about women in antiquity…..especially about women that I don’t know much about.
So when this book about Zenobia came across my nightstand for review, I was intrigued. Especially because I know virtually nothing about Zenobia…..I even had to Google her so I could at least put a name to the ‘face’ in antiquity.
Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry against her will. She won’t submit to a lifetime of subservience. When her father dies, she sets out on her own, pursuing the power she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne.
Defying her family, Zenobia arranges her own marriage to the most influential man in the city of Palmyra.
But their union is anything but peaceful—his other wife begrudges the marriage and the birth of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia finds herself ever more drawn to her guardsman, Zabdas. As war breaks out, she’s faced with terrible choices.
From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for power, for love, and for her son. But will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she learn a “woman’s place,” or can she finally stake her claim as Empress of the East?
I think most people are familiar with Cleopatra but few are familiar with Zenobia so I thought this would be a great book for review! Something unique, different, and about a woman who defied social expectations. There is little known about her life but Hawker makes an effort to fill in the gaps that have been lost to antiquity.
The writing was well done and very clearly researched. Hawker really made the reader feel what it was like to live during this time. I got a true sense of the characters as well as the setting from her writing abilities. Not to mention, I felt like I really got to know Zenobia’s characters in a unique way. In her author’s note at the end, Hawker explains that there is not a lot written about Zenobia and what is written, is mostly myth or legend rather than actual fact. Given that Hawker had remarkably little to go on, I walked away from this novel feeling like I knew ‘something’ about this unique woman! I think Hawker gave Zenobia a fair story that was realistic and fit.
I wasn’t always sure that the third person narrative worked for this book, but over all it wasn’t terrible. The writing was strong and descriptive, personally I would have picked first person POV for this but third worked ok.
While I enjoyed the writing and thought that Zenobia was unique and sort of a ‘new’ figure, I didn’t quite connect with her in the way that I had hoped. I don’t know that I always ‘liked’ her or identified with her as a character. At times I thought the decisions that she made seemed uncharacteristic for her (especially toward the end), I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone so I will leave it at that…..I just felt that at times she did things that did not fit with the character Hawker built her up to be.
Even though I didn’t always like Zenobia, I liked the writing style so much and the over all story that I was able to rate this novel four stars without any qualms. If you are a fan of Stephanie Thronton, you will love this book about a unique woman in the ancient world!
Kindle EditionPublished December 1st 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review, as part of TLC Virtual Book Tours.
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: historical fiction, romance
Memorable lines/quotes: NA
Monday, November 30th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, December 1st: Bibliotica
Tuesday, December 1st: Life is Story
Wednesday, December 2nd: Reading Reality
Thursday, December 3rd: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, December 7th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, December 9th: Book Dilettante
Thursday, December 10th: Mom’s Small Victories
Friday, December 11th: Book Nerd
Monday, December 14th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Monday, December 14th: Book Babe
Tuesday, December 15th: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, December 16th: The Reader’s Hollow
Monday, December 21st: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, December 22nd: The Lit Bitch
Friday, December 25th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Friday, December 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, December 29th: I’m Shelfish
Tuesday, December 29th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, December 30th: Broken Teepee
TBD: Spiced Latte Reads