Tuesday, July 9, 2013

HF Virtual Book Tours Review and Giveaway: The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton

Title: The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora
Author: Stephanie Thornton
Format: ARC
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publish Date: July 2, 2013
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like strong characters.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Where Theodora went, trouble followed…

In sixth century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds, and rose from being a common theater tart to become empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. But the woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was, in fact, a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told…

When her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation on the streets. Determined to survive, Theodora makes a living any way she can—first on her back with every man who will have her, then on the stage of the city’s infamous amphitheater in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a back-door entry into the halls of power, she seizes the chance to win a wealthy protector—only to face heartbreak and betrayal.

Ever resilient, Theodora rises above such trials and by a twist of fate, meets her most passionate admirer yet: the Emperor’s nephew. She will thrive as his confidant and courtesan, but many challenges lie ahead. For one day, this man will hand her a crown. And all the empire will wonder—is she bold enough, shrewd enough, and strong enough to keep it?"

My Two Cents:

Wow! This book was really, really good. Empress Theodora is an absolutely amazing historical figure and this book really brought her to life. She went from being a prostitute to an actress to an empress to Justinian I, an emperor of the Roman Empire. Impressive leap, no? Just her basic story alone is really gripping. Debut author, Stephanie Thornton takes the story and turns it into something really special.

Theodora is such a good character. The book is told from her point of view so we really get to see what she goes through and what her life was like. We get to see from her very humble beginnings through her rise to empress and beyond. Even though she has a truly amazing story, she still feels really accessible and like someone you might want to know.

I haven't read a lot of historical fiction set in ancient times. I absolutely loved being able to see what life must have been like during the Roman Empire. Thornton really makes the setting come to life. You can see the dirtiness and grime of Theodora's early life and you can feel the sheer opulence of her latter life. The description of this book is incredibly rich. There are so many parts of the book that I wanted to savor just a little bit longer.

This book is truly a treat, both for the historical fiction lover but armchair travelers who want their reading to be a whole body experience. I loved this book and I want more. I will be eagerly awaiting Thornton's future releases. 


I'm excited to be able to give away a copy of this fantastic book and a Byzantine coin! Open internationally! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, June 25
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, June 26
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, June 27
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Monday, July 1
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, July 2
Review at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, July 3
Review at Book Journey
Friday, July 5
Review at Layered Pages
Monday, July 8
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, July 9
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 12
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Monday, July 15
Review at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Tuesday, July 16
Review at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, July 17
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, July 18
Review & Guest Post at The Lit Bitch
Friday, July 19
Interview & Giveaway at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Monday, July 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, July 24
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, July 25
Review, Interview & Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Friday, July 26
Interview at A Bookish Libraria
Monday, July 29
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Friday, August 2
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
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  1. This book sounds really good! I have always thought that Theodora is such a fascinating historical figure. I am definitely going to be adding this to my TBR pile.

  2. Sounds so interesting; I added it to my wish list the first time I saw a review. Would love to win it.

  3. This historical is fascinating and unique. Thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I've read several good reviews of this and now yours and I'd love to read it. Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. I am very excited to read this book. I love books set in ancient times.

  6. Wow! Your review makes me want to get this book even more. Thanks.

  7. I am looking forward to this book as I am a fan of historical fiction.

  8. All the reviews I've read for this novel have been positive. I'm looking forward to reading it!

  9. I've read so many good reviews of this one. It looks like a nice break from European royalty hist-fic!

  10. The review is so positive that I am definitely intrigued plus I do like to see strong women from history highlighted.

  11. I'd definitely like to read this as I'm intrigued by the book.

  12. Great reviews for a first-time author. I'd love to read it, thanks.

  13. Thanks for the great review. It certainly piqued my interest to read The Secret History. I have added it to my TBR list.

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

  14. I have organized a virtual tour for our college students but getting many difficulties in it. Please help me out to manage these virtual tours.


  15. This one is on my to-read list. Theodora is such an intriguing character, and I've not read much about her! Thanks for the chance to win!


  16. Empress Theodora sounds fascinating! I can't wait to read about her journey.


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