Book Review: The Brides of Rome by Debra May Macleod

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Title: The Brides of Rome: A Novel of the Vestal Virgins
Author: Debra May Macleod
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 283
Rating: A nice dive into Ancient Rome, if you can withstand the slow burn

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Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome is one of my favorite historical eras. Much of the modern world can thank Ancient Rome for the way it works today, for better or for worse.

When we dive into Ancient Rome, books are often focused on the politics of it all, or on the armies.

The freedom an author gets when using Ancient Rome for the muse of their Historical Fiction piece is that we don’t know everything about it.

We can fill in a lot of the blanks, but there is the ability to fill in the some of the blanks with a bit of creative freedom.


is full of powerful Men

Macleod’s writing style is easy to read. She has a descriptive writing style, and she almost writes it in the form of a mystery novel.

She writes her story, almost leading the reader in one direction, before slamming a twist in their face that changes the story.

Sometimes the changes were subtle, sometimes they impacted the story and all of the major characters.

Macleod does it several times throughout the book and it doesn’t get old. It keeps the readers on their toes and keeps the story fresh.

As this story is focused on the Vestal Virgins, a religious order of women, we do get to see the world from a woman’s perspective and the vileness of men, which we don’t get to see often.


and even more powerful Women

Being a bit of a self-proclaimed history nerd, I knew of the Vestal Virgins, but I never really knew anything other than the bare minimum.

I can’t say for sure if Macleod was 100 per cent accurate in her depiction of them, but I can say that if it is true, it was interesting learning about them in a fictional way.

They were held in such high regard in the Roman World, and could control powerful men and women with a few words, but they were so limited in what they could do, and whom they could love.

Exploring their limitations, while also exploring their strengths and political powers gives the readers a good idea of the careful balance they walked.

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