Lindsay Townsend’s novel, Flavia’s Secret, is a multi-faceted story set in Bath in Roman Britain. It reveals the precarious position of slaves, the splendour of Roman Baths, the arogance of a Roman nobleman and the Roman’s attitude to Christians, who were considered subversive.
Flavia’s Secret begins after the death of Flavias’s kind mistress, who has left all her property, including Flavia and her other slaves to her adopted son, Marcus Brutus. Flavia fears he will sell her and the rest of the slaves, and is also afraid that he will discover her secret.
With great skill Lindsay Townsend transported me to occupied Britain, the culture, clothes, food and much more.
Through Flavia, a Celt, I had a glimpse of Celtic beliefs. ‘Rivers and water were sacred to her (Flavia’s) people, but (at the baths) the Romans had enclosed the spring, perhaps not even knowing that all springs were a gateway to the world of the dead.’
Despite the differences in their beliefs and social standing, Flavia and Marcus Brutus are attracted to each other, but Flavia fears he will never recover from his wife and daughter’s deaths.
The novel, in which a criminal must receive justice, held my interest from the first page to the last.