Friends, oh my goodness. I don’t think I have adequate words for this review.
This book is absolutely, hands-down an incredibly stunning piece of literature.
I love books that are set in Ancient Rome, but rarely do I find one that does the time period justice. Usually the research is lacking, the characters are unrelatable, and/or the overall feel of the book is too “modern,” lacking the proper descriptors or depth that an historical fiction requires.
Crystal King, however, utterly nails it.
The characters are stunningly developed; those that are historical figures are fleshed out in such a brilliant way. (I will literally never look at Marcus Gavius Apicius the same, ever again.) Her facts are well-researched, lending the book a beautiful credibility. The meals, the traditions, the daily lives of these people…all accurate and completely fascinating. The fact that the book follows the same characters for literally a lifetime…I believe the book covers about a 30-year span…had me so invested in the lives of these people that I quite literally had to mourn when a character was lost. I just could not put this book down, and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. Very, very rarely does a book hit me in the chest the way this one did. I just can’t shake it. It will forever be one of my favorites.
Bottom Line: A genius work of art from a genius author.
**A big thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!