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The Roman, by Caroline Storer

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ROME AD 79

The one woman he ever loved was the one woman who betrayed him.

And now, the Roman will have his revenge…

Marsallas and Justina were young, beautiful and desperately in love once, until a tragic betrayal tore them apart.

Six years have passed since that day, and Marsallas has since thrown himself into the deadly world of chariot racing, gaining fortune, fame, and a salacious reputation throughout Rome. His bed is kept warm by a different woman each night, but his heart remains iced over as the memory of Justina’s betrayal continues to haunt him.

The last thing he expects is to see her again, but when she steps back into his life, he sees a chance to avenge his broken heart.

But beneath the hurt, an attraction so intense still burns between the two, and as their fates begin to intertwine once more, their determination to resist one another starts to falter…

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I was asked by the author to read this book in exchange of an honest review. 

The plot was interesting. A betrayed hero, a selfless heroine, an undying love that conquers everything. I mean, it held promise. But there were a number of things that bothered me.

The first one (and main one as well) was that there were a lot of typos. I spent the first three chapters correcting them in my head and then I just decided to try and just ignore them.
Also I thought the English was very “modern” for a story that takes place in Rome AD 79. The way the characters spoke sometimes felt like you were reading present day people talk. Maybe I am mistaken (after all, English isn’t my mother tongue) but it bugged me all the same.

Sometimes, I didn’t really get why the characters reacted and acted like they did. For example, the main characters are arguing or fighting one minute and kissing each other the next. Or they are talking peacefully to each other and all of a sudden, one of them has a fit. It’s okay when you are the reader because you follow the thought process but when you consider this from the character’s point of view, it’s another story. And even as a reader it sort of came out a little out of the blue.

Also I think the story dragged on a little. There were moments that could have been shorter or skipped all together in my opinion and the story would have been better off that way.

Reading about the details of the time period was very nice and I think the author did a good job here. You are not drowning under descriptions but there’s just enough of them to create the decor in your mind. The process of making bronze sculptures was very interesting to read about.

I liked reading about the characters’ back story. It gave insight into their lives and minds and you understand where the characters come from, why they feel what they feel.
But I couldn’t really connect with them. Marsallas was very bitter. You get why when you read the story, but it made him mean at times toward Justina.
She felt a little too…”fragile” to me. What I mean is that after living like she did for six years, you’d expect her to be a little more…fierce. Or at least to defend herself when someone talks down to her and walks all over her. But she was kind and sweet. She’s only 22 years old in the story after all.
Also she day dreamed a lot. Sometimes it felt a little like Marsallas was some sort of fantasy inducing being and whenever he enters a room, every women start fantasizing about him, his body and what he can do with it under the sheets.

But I have to say, the scene in the baths was very steamy (pun intended). After lusting after each other for so long this scene was a success.

So in the end, the story and the book were okay. I liked the details about the era and the descriptions but I couldn’t connect with the characters. It was an easy read but it’s not a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

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