Wednesday, November 21, 2018

HFVBT Review: Imperial Passions: The Porta Aurea by Eileen Stephenson

Title: Imperial Passions: The Porta Aurea
Author: Eileen Stephenson
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Eileen Iciek
Publish Date: April 24, 2018
Source: HFVBT

What's the Story?:

From "At the center of Byzantine society, fifteen-year old orphaned Anna Dalassena lives with her grandparents among the most powerful men and women in Constantinople. But the cutthroat politics of the Great Palace sends the family into exile in a distant corner of the empire. Her bleak situation finally turns promising after meeting a handsome young soldier, John Comnenus, and his brother Isaac, before they are finally permitted to return home.

The vicious power struggles, uprisings, and betrayals at the highest levels of the empire push Anna and John unwillingly into its center as they struggle to deal with their own tragedies. When rebellion puts her life and those of everyone she loves at risk, is the reward-- a throne for her family--too big a gamble?"

My Two Cents:

"Imperial Passions: The Porta Aurea" is the story of Anna. Although when the book opens, Anna is an orphan, her star rises throughout the book. Taking place in the 11th century Byzantine Empire, this book is full of palace intrigue and interesting characters. Anna is a great character to follow through all of the difficulties that her family faces. I really enjoyed this book!

Anna and the other secondary characters were great. I loved seeing how things shifted for Anna and her family throughout the book. We get to see the triumphs and the tragedies. I loved following Anna. Although on the surface, particularly in the beginning of the book, it doesn't seem like Anna has much of a choice rather than following wherever the wind might take her but we soon see that she understands her power well and is able to use it in such a way to move through the world successfully. 

I loved all of the drama of the book. Anna and her family are intrinsically connected to the leaders and politics of the day and this really drives the story line throughout the book. Although this is quite a large book, reading about the intricate power struggles of the Byzantine Empire kept me interested and wanting to see how things turned out for some key characters.

This was a fascinating book! I don't know much about the Byzantine Empire during this time period and I loved the way that Stephenson used historical detail to create a very vivid setting, which I loved. I was impressed with how much historical detail the author was able to pack in without the book feeling like a laundry list of what Anna's world was like. This is a great book with fantastic detail! What a treat for historical fiction lovers!


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