Caligula just never seems to get good press.
Carolyn Hart, still shining bright from her well-deserved MWA Grandmaster award, once again demonstrates her astonishing range in this early novel dealing with love and treachery in First Century Rome.
I'm not necessarily a fan of historical romances so I wondered what I'd make of this one. Well, I enjoyed the hell out of it.
The set up concerns Camilla who, married at fifteen to Decimus--a man her father chose--learns over time that not only doesn't her husband love her, he wants her only for her wealth and family status.
Then she meets a man named Marcus Paulus and learns, as these things go, what a loving relationship is supposed to be. But how can she rid herself of Decimus who has plans now to use his wife's status to befriend Caligula?
Hart generally avoids the kind of scenery chewing it's easy to fall into with historicals and even better she brings wit and a surprising modernity to the form. There's a very clever scene where Decimus suspects her of not being true. In her defense she tells him that she's gone shopping and points to
some of the goods she supposedly bought on the trip. Hart makes the moment tart and beleivable.
The book has many fine moments like that one.