From the blurb:
Spirited, young scribe Flavia hopes for freedom. She and her fellow slaves in Aquae Sulis (modern Bath) have served the Lady Valeria for many years, but their mistress’ death brings a threat to Flavia’s dream: her new master Marcus Brucetus, a charismatic, widowed officer toughened in the forests of Germania. Flavia finds him overwhelmingly attractive but she is aware of the danger. To save her life and those of her ‘family’ she has forged a note from her mistress. If her deception is discovered, all the slaves may die. For his part torn between attraction and respect, Marcus will not force himself on Flavia. Flavia by now knows of his grief over the deaths of his wife Drusilla and child. But how can she match up to the serene, flame-haired Drusilla? As the wild mid-winter festival of Saturnalia approaches, many lives will be changed forever.
A thoroughly enjoyable historical romance novel.
From the first page I was hooked – the author’s writing is most engaging, and she creates the atmosphere of this bygone time beautifully. Best of all, I found I could totally relax into the writing because it is credible and feels well-researched: I was entirely transported to the time and place in history, and I loved all the details of the setting, from the Roman baths to the clothing and the food.
This is no surface-level romance – there’s a lot of depth to the book, which I found really interesting and compelling. I was especially intrigued by the mystery of Lady Valeria’s death, and I loved the drama created by the villain of the piece.
The characters jumped right off the pages into my imagination. Flavia is easy to like and to root for, and I felt such sympathy for her for the lack of freedom she had to endure as a slave. I love how courageous she is, and principled. Marcus is a wonderful alpha male hero – I fell in love with him the moment he rescued a young slave boy and adopted him as a surrogate son. I really liked the development of Flavia and Marcus’s relationship in the book, which felt mature and true-to-life while also remaining full of emotion and passion.
Overall, this is a book full of historical context, intelligent exploration of the time, drama, intrigue and romance – all conveyed through a well-crafted writing style that makes for enjoyable and easy reading. It is a book I would recommend to any reader who loves romantic historical fiction. Having read Flavia’s Secret I’m delighted to have found a great new author whose books I can add to my ‘to read’ list.
I was offered this book in exchange for a fair review.
Flavia’s Secret is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.