Title: Twilight Empress
Author: Faith L Justice
Publisher: Raggedy Moon
Publish Date: May 8, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "One woman battles the coming Dark Ages. "Twilight Empress" tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman: Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman Empress and Gothic Queen, Placidia does the unthinkable: she rules the failing Western Roman Empire. A life of ambition, power, and intrigue she doesn't seek, but can't refuse, her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. A woman as well as an empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her intelligence, tenacity, and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun?"
My Two Cents:
In "Twilight Empress," Rome, once seen as unshakeable, is falling. Placidia becomes Empress at a time where Rome's power is slowly leaking. Never fully wanting power, Placidia steps up to the plate to rule Rome and try to take it back to stable ground. It's a fascinating story of a powerful woman and one that I was not really familiar with before.
This book covers a lot of what Placidia does to rule the empire and how she tries to consolidate power once again through various political alliances. And while all of this is interesting in itself, I was also interested in Placidia as a person. Here is a woman that tries to put on a brave face about the duties thrust upon her. Meanwhile she is trying to be a good mother to her children. I really enjoyed reading about the relationship between Placidia and her children. Oh boy, does she have her hands full in many different ways. As a mother myself, I found a lot of comfort in the idea that there are universal things like sibling rivalry that a mother must deal with (even when she doesn't have an empire to rule). The juxtaposition between Placidia trying to keep both her empire and her family together was interesting.
I really liked reading the descriptions of Rome in decline, just because it's a view that I haven't seen very often. I feel like most of my bookish jaunts to Ancient Rome have been in its heyday and this Rome was much different. The descriptions were good!
Overall, this was a good read that gave me a new perspective. It was a promising start to a new series!