REVIEW: The Purple Shroud by Stella Duffy
An unusual story for any hardcore historical reader who wants to envision a time period so seldom written about and a formidable, modern businesswoman before her time. Author Stella Duffy makes the Byzantine Empire come alive!
The Purple Shroud by Stella Duffy
Category: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books (September 25, 2012)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
If you love straight historical fiction, which isn’t always happy, then I think you’ll love THE PURPLE SHROUD. It’s an excellent example of how history can be fun to learn if presented by the right author. Theodora was captivating and her life unusual as well as full of intrigue and adventure. She was also a woman of faith who often contradicted what that meant by her actions.
Theodora is an unusual character in history and not someone you’d expect to become an Empress. In this novel, we meet her when she’s already married to Justinian, the Catholic Roman Emperor at Constantinople in the sixth century. Theodora grew up in a life on the stage as a dancer and acrobat. She was also a courtesan. Even the idea that this type of character can be presented as a suitable mate for an Emperor makes you take pause. But Theodora was a woman of the people and she was the perfect choice to rule beside Justinian, to guide him when things took a turn for the worse so that he could be a successful ruler.
Theirs is a love story of the ages — they’re perfectly matched yet completely different in backgrounds and as people. Their story plays out beautifully within these pages, allowing the reader a glimpse at what their life may have been like through the sorrows and the joy. I couldn’t help but be horrified at the scope of what Theodora did sometimes for the success of their rule. She was as vindictive as she was kind, exemplifying a contradiction. Her faith ran deep and sometimes her ambition ran deeper. Even so, I was enthralled by her accomplishments and audacity, as well as saddened in the end.
Although this book is a sequel to THEODORA, I didn’t read the first book and felt that this one reads fine as a standalone.
THE PURPLE SHROUD is a great love story within an imperfect world. I recommend this unusual story for any hardcore historical reader who wants to envision a time period so seldom written about, highlighted by a formidable, modern businesswoman before her time. For me, the sign of a great historical author is one who encourages me to research the time period myself with her subtle details that make me curious, but are not overdone, keeping the story center stage. Author Stella Duffy makes the Byzantine Empire come alive!
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies.
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