Review: Mistress of Rome

TITLE: Mistress of Rome
AUTHOR: Kate Quinn
PUBLICATION: 2010 by Berkley Trade
FORMAT: Paperback


Thea, a slave from Judea, falls in love with the new star of the Colliseum named Arius. However, due to the jealousy of a cruel mistress the happiness of the lovers is short lived as they are torn apart. Then Thea, in a new life as a singer, catches the eye of the Emperor and old rivals are thrust together once again. Amidst the cruelty of an Emperor’s favor, a love long thought to be dead also arises. Now that she is mistress of Rome what will become of Thea and Arius?


This was a book that was receiving some high praise on GoodReads at one of the groups I had membership to so I’ve been curious for awhile. I found it at Borders in the bargain section so for a few dollars it was hard to resist adding this to my collection. Now that I have read it, I cannot believe I waited so long to get around to it!

Mistress of Rome picks up pretty much where the epilogue of Daughters of Rome leaves off. The author has stated how she spent her time writing this novel while listening to the Gladiator soundtack on repeat. I own that soundtrack and I have no problem listening to it on repeat, hehe! I found myself easily drawn into this narrative and I can honestly say that I had difficulty putting this one down. It’s told from a few different perspectives, first person and third person respectively. Make no mistake that this novel is a harsh romance set in Rome during the first century. Characters do not seem all that coddled here, or at least Thea isn’t, but I suppose anything softer wouldn’t seem real given that she is a slave.

Again I am grateful for the historical note at the end. Quinn has listed some interesting books I’d like to check out that were used in her research on the period. You know that someday there’s going to be a slew of history books reviewed on this blog, don’t you? I’ve constructed quite the list of things to read in the future. Anything about Rome is usually added.

I love the characters in this book. Thea and Arius will make me squeal with delight. Thanks to the Ridley Scott film I have something of a fondness for gladiators, and I hope I am not incorrect in seeing some influence from Russell Crowe’s character in Arius? Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. There was a moment of surprise when Quinn breaks the cliche and it’s the hero lacking the sexual experience instead of the heroine. Early on I was afraid that some of the actions taken would leave me feeling disappointed in this book, but oddly enough it all worked out and I am very pleased with the book overall. I also like the characters that exist for the reader to love to hate, but what’s a story without a good villain or two? Otherwise there’s no antagonist angle for the climax. Although I wonder if I might have liked the Empress more had I not read Daughters of Rome prior to this novel.

I believe it is safe to say that Mistress of Rome is everything that I wished to find in Daughters of Rome. Oh, this book will be kept on the shelf and read again. I know that Kate Quinn is suppose to release Empress of the Seven hills in a few months, but I think I will be getting that from the library to test and see if it is worth owning. It should be interesting to read more about Sabina and Vix.



7 thoughts on “Review: Mistress of Rome

    • Actually you don’t even need to read Daughters of Rome to read this one. But it did provide extra knowledge on some of the characters that we meet in this book, even if in just a passing reference. Some of the minor characters in Daughters feature more prominently in Mistress.

  1. Awesome! I’m definitely reading this one then. Do you have Lily of the Nile and Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray on your TBR? I love them both and I can see you liking them too. 🙂

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