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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Cornelia and Marcella are the sisters, Lollia and Diana their cousins - members of Rome's wealthiest families. All will be put to the test in 69 A.D., Year of the Four Emperors.

The novel traces momentous events as seen through their eyes. Life in the bustling capital is graphically depicted: good times with Games and Feasts (menus mind-boggling, vomitorium needed); bad times of chaos caused by invading armies and rioting plebs.

There is much to applaud. Admittedly all those names are initially a bit of a stumbling block (the list of main characters helpful), but one is soon swept along by the tale of ever-changing fortunes amidst the havoc. There is more humour than expected, patricians so desperate to be on the winning side but without a clue which side it will be.

Characterization is strong. Diana is fun, interested only in horses. By twenty, Lollia has five times been married - but never to the one true love of her life. Inky fingered Marcella discovers that recording history is not a patch on actually manipulating it. Then there is Cornelia, to whom one warms - yearning for children it seems she can never have.

Three of the Emperors also come over vividly. (The fourth only arrives at the end of the book). Calba - elderly and sour, learning the hard way he should have paid the Praetorian Guard. Otho - outwardly a charmer and master of spin. Vitellius - so gross that sixty courses at one sitting present no challenge. (A love of horses partially redeems him as far as Diana is concerned.)

Some of the action is a little OTT, but it does not reduce the overall enjoyment. Personal highlight? That spectacular chariot race is hard to beat - a legend in the making as the crowd roars its approval.

A test of such novels is how involved one becomes, how caught up in the action, how caring about the participants. Many will relish what they find here - becoming totally immersed in the passion, intrigue and turbulence.

Recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
'Daughters Of Rome' is a colourful and vivid recreation of Ancient Rome. It tells the story of four women, sisters and cousins, and the dramatic things that happen to them during a time of ever-changing emperors. Cornelia is the elegant one, the woman who has married well but has yet to produce the covetted son and heir. Marcella is the bluestocking, working on her chronicle of Roman history, but cursed by the fact that a woman is not allowed to be a historian or a published writer. There is Lollia, the vivacious one with a fondness for her male slaves, and lastly the tomboy, Diana, obsessed with chariot-racing.

Some of the Roman names get a bit confusing at times, but other than that this is a perfect read, crammed full of larger-than-life characters and memorable (at times bloodthirsty) scenes. Like a sort of full-bodied Roman version of 'Little Women'!
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on 7 June 2015
Okay, I am now convinced beyond all doubt. I have read Mistress of Rome, The Three Fates and Kate Quinn's contribution to Day of Fire and through reading these books I noticed that a certain amount of talent lie within her pen and keyboard. What put me over the edge in my nascent admiration, is chapter 17 in Daughters of Rome, the chariot race chapter. What Judah Ben-Hur and Messala did for chariot racing on the big screen, Kate does in chapter 17.for the written word. Now that's not meant to take away from the rest of the book; oh no, not by any means. The author has portrayed four Cornelian noble women and their seeming ever changing fortunes during the infamous Year of the Four Emperors. With each new emperor a new level of growth for our four heroines from the loosening of Cornelia's stubborn resolve to the change from the 'oh woe is me' Marcella to the 'instrument of change' Marcella. Lollias' coming to grips with love and the sheer number of emotions experienced by Diana in chapter 17, well that alone is worth the price of admission, dear reader. Yes, I am convinced, Kate Quinn can write pretty good. 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 July 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the first time that I have read anything in this genre and I found the period detail very enjoyable and the historical facts that I knew came to life in the characters.
The opulence of the Roman ruling classes and the hierarchical society were realistically described. I particularly enjoyed reading the descriptions of the food being eaten at the feasts - it's hard to imagine eating an elephant's trunk!
The main 4 Cornelii women were well characterised each offering a different personality which were of equal interest throughout the story. Having completed the story, I am now eager to get my hands on a copy of the prequel - Mistress of Rome.
All in all a great read.
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Daughters of Rome is a sequel of sorts to last year's successful Mistress of Rome. Set in the 'year of Four Emperors', AD69, this book tells the story of 4 cousins in the patrician Cornelli family. The four girls are very different; Cornelia is a dutiful wife, dreaming of the child she does not seem able to produce; Lollia has been married off 5 times to boost her father's latest political alliances; Marcella is the intellectual, recording then making history; and Diana is obsessed with horses and wants to be a charioteer.

Although there is a lot of historical detail and cumbersome Latin names to keep track of, Daughters of Rome is an interesting snapshot of life as a woman in imperial Rome. However, I did find that the 4 women had some 21st century attitudes that were not in keeping with the historical facts. Still, it made for an enjoyable read as the characters were engaging and the storylines suited their personalities. I enjoyed the descriptions of the food served at the decadent banquets - elephant's trunk anyone?

While there seems to have been a lot of research into the period by the author, there was one glaring mistake... a 'vomitorium' is not a room for bulimics, rather a means of exiting large venues. This made me wonder how much poetic licence the author took to make her book appealing to the target audience. That said, Daughters of Rome is an enjoyable read that gives the reader an insight into the lives of Roman women.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Another terrific read from Kate Quinn following last year's "Mistress of Rome" Mistress of Rome She's a really good storyteller and this is another book that draws you in and keeps you up until 3am.

Her protagonists this time are 4 daughters of the patrician Cornelii family - all called Cornelia 1-4, but who have nicknames to differentiate them - the sisters Cornelia 1 and Marcella and their cousins Lollia and Diana. Cornelia and Lollia are the best developed characters, Marcella I found inconsistent, Diana is frankly unbelievable in the context of the times. The turbulent events of the "year of the 4 emperors" provide the backdrop and Quinn's historical background is excellent, but the story is fiction after all and her characters' behaviour 21st century, which is why she has Diana acting in a way that would early have resulted in family intervention.

Its a ripping yarn and the ways in which the girls adapt to changing fortunes make for an interesting read. I do think the book suffers from having the story spread 4 ways and preferred "Mistress of Rome" which is more focused, with stronger characters. I didn't care as much about the fates of these characters as I did in the preceding book.

So, dramatic, lots of blood and circuses, murder and intrigue - "Rome" meets "I Claudius" somewhere in the middle. A bit of a guilty pleasure, but nonetheless a really gripping read.

Recommended
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VINE VOICEon 4 August 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great rip-roaring tale of AD69 told from the point of view of four women from the same family. One is trying to be a female Tacitus while another keeps getting married to supporters of the current incumbent of the purple only to see them killed off in time fro grandfather to pick the nect husband.

Apart from the death of Piso, Galba's heir, most of the historical action takes place offstage and is reported by the characters, but a good picture of rich household in the turmoil of civil war is evoked. We also meet some characters from the first novel in a younger incarnation and will probably meet them again in the third offering.

Historical background is accurate and as far as I can tell so is the domestic detail which gives the novel an immediacy that some books of this type lack due to overdoen scene setting.

The horse mad Diana seems a bit liek a 20th century throwback, but Romans loved chariot racing so perhaps she's not as far from reality as I first thought. Good effortless and if you know nothign abiout the 'long and single year' that was AD 69 you'll learn a bit along the way.
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VINE VOICEon 18 July 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This novel set in ancient Rome, explores the lives and relationships of four women in a wealthy family. We first meet them as little girls, who get their fortune told and the reader quickly realises that their seemingly charmed lives are always going to be taisnted with loss and betrayal. The story mainly revolves around the struggles they endure for power, love and their family obligations. At the same time, we are hearing about the power struggle going on between the men, senate and emperor of Rome, civil unrest is in the air and this just makes things even more complex for the Cornelli women. An interesting story that is easy to read and I enjoyed.
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on 13 December 2011
On the surface, this isn't the most original storyline. Four young girls, blood relaives and all very close to each other, are living in a time of political turmoil which they become caugt up in as they experience love, death, danger and a test of their friendship.
Yeah.
But what makes this book stand out is the characters.
The complexity of the character's in Daughters of Rome was really great. In the author's earlier book Mistress of Rome, in spite of the male narrators being convincingly flawed and thoroughly likable anyway, female main characters could feel a bit black and white. Who's ever met anyone quite as egocentric, uncaring and incapable of feeling others pain as Lepida?Particularly with her apparently lucky life circumstances and happy life before the book.

In this book, on the other hand, the main characters Cornelia, Marcella and Lollia are all vividly drawn ,thoroughly believable and never annoying.Supporting characters are mostly the same and Galba, Otho and Vitellius, the first three emperors of the year are all portrayed originally enough to make them interesting. And whilst they might fit the "four devoted sisters" prototype(in spite of not all being sisters) the main character's relationships with each other are not idealised. They frequently have rather nasty, judgemental thoughts about each other.Most impotantly, the ending is NOT what you would expect of that type of book. In fact, I really recommend you don't read this before you do Mistress of Rome because without knowing what happens in that book, the ending to this will not make you happy.

One of the best things about Daughters of Rome was that when one of the characters does something that makes you dislike her you actuaully understand why-it all makes sense in terms of the values she was raised with or something unsatisfactory in her life. This is particularly true for Marcella-I thought the author did a very good job of explaining why she ends up acting in something of a villain role.

In spite of all this,there were still some things I didn't like about this book. First, i agree with other reviews that Diana was a bit of a letdown compared to the other three narrators. I would say the book would do better without her except that she is very important to the "Marcella" plotline, both in terms of Marcella's development and changes and to her eventual conclusion , though in a way that makes me sympathise with Marcella even when I don't think I'm supposed to. Lyn ap Caradoc, the major character in the "Diana" plotline, was rather too similar to Arius in Mistress of Rome in lifestory, if not in personality.

and then there was the role of Domitian in this book. Don't get me wrong, his early character here is fascinating and the scenes in which he appars are some of the best, although I'm not sure how they'd read to someone who hdn't read the first book. It's just that I'd been hoping we'd find out more about his relationships with his father and brother which if you read Suetonius, are really intersting and there was very little on this. You can actually find out more about his older brother Titus by reading Mistress of Rome than this one. Domitian's father Emperor Vespasian was a "wit" who used most of his jokes to make fun of Domitian in public, but here he is portrayed mostly positively. In the end, there isn't much choice from this book other than to say Domitian must be "naturally evil", since there is no explanation for his twisted behaviour and I always think that makes the least intersting baddies.

But I still think that Daughters of Rome is the one of the most intersting historical fiction books you're ever likely to read.
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on 26 October 2011
My housemates certainly knew I was enjoying this book as they kept giving me funny looks as I laughed at the situations the four women found themselves in. The story is about four patrician women living in Rome in the year A.D. 69 when the Roman Empire went through four emperors in quick succession.

This book is light-hearted and fun. There are many references to sex. However, I feel I can relate to the way the four women talk about it. It feels like a 'girly' chat that happens regularly in my living room with a pot of tea. It's never too explicit. It's fun.

I thought the beginning was weaker than the 'Mistress of Rome' that had me from the first page. It wasn't really until the scene of Emperor Galba's death that I truly began to feel for the characters. This might have been because there were four main characters I had to learn to love. Despite this, it still only took me a couple of days to finish.

As to historical accuracy, I don't know enough about the time to comment. There was nothing, apart from the idea of red nail varnish, which stuck out as being odd.

This book was fun. I'm certainly going to read Kate Quinn's next book when it comes out.
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