In 295B, Aelia and Lucianus struggle to survive in a world filled with pirates, godfathers and forbidden love. Where patricians rule and plebeians grovel. But, will Lucianus grovel? Don’t count on it.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from J. F. Ridgley in exchange for an honest review.]
To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big fan of romance in general. Especially when a book focuses on the romance. However, I am a big fan of historical fiction that’s accurate and well-researched, which is why I agreed to read Vows of Revenge. After all, I’m generally open-minded when it comes to what I read. Once again, I’m glad my open mind led me to another great read.
As I said, I’m not a big fan of romance; my regular readers know this all too well. However, I really liked the romance between Aelia and Lucianus in this book. Yes, it’s a stereotypical forbidden love on the surface (pleb loves patrician), but there’s so much more to it than that. There’s Aelia’s abuse-ridden past, societal expectations and the novel’s villains trying to get in the way of their relationship. It’s definitely a struggle and it doesn’t feel contrived at all.
I wouldn’t call Vows of Revenge a fast-paced book because it’s more character-focused, but it’s far from boring. Aelia’s character arc is fantastic and seeing things from Lucianus’ point of view keeps things moving constantly. There’s something in here for both romance-lovers and history buffs because Ridgley has done an incredible amount of research. For once, I can say with complete confidence that this book is historically accurate. Yes, the characters are made up. But the details of Roman life, from the background war in Samnia and the severe patrician-pleb divide are accurate. There’s even an historical note at the end of the book for the curious.
Vows of Revenge is written extremely well and is generally free of the typos that you typically find in self-published books. There are a few minor ones such as a missing letter or a quotation mark that faces the wrong way, but nothing blatantly obvious. Certainly not that many to have an effect on the quality of the writing or story and not enough to annoy this picky grammarian.
Even if you don’t generally read romance or historical fiction, I’d highly recommend Vows of Revenge. It’s definitely a worthwhile read.
I give this book 5/5 stars.