A Life in the Age of Pompeii

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

It is 79 AD and Mount Vesuvius has just erupted and not just destroyed, but buried the resort roman city of Pompeii. But in a room deep below the surface a girl has survived in a room that her adoptive father had found for her as a youngster, as a space for contemplation and escape from the hectic life of the busy and loud city. A few short hours ago she was preparing to be married to a Roman soldier who had loved her from the moment he saw her and to whom she had bestowed her own heart. Now, in part to distract herself from panic, she decides to write her story in the hopes that someday it will be found and that she and her beloved family will be remembered.

This story might have been written in the period contemporary with the times and mores of the first century AD Roman homeland. Actually, it was, in the form of that journal written by Sonata, an orphaned young girl - a spoil of war - adopted by a well-to-do Pompeian couple and who, for better and worse, captures the attention and affection of a god, Venus herself.

Sonata is rambunctious, precocious and lovely, qualities that serve her well while leading her into all sorts of trouble. As the ship carrying her entered Pompeii she has her first supernatural experience as she is saved from drowning by Venus herself - who was actually responsible for Sonata’s jumping off the ship. On the shore a bereaved young mother and wife of an important and wealthy city official watched as Sonata miraculously delivered from the sea to the shore. Seeing the young girl of about the same age and appearance as her deceased daughter she quickly convinces her devoted husband that they must have this lovely gift from the sea.

Sonata’s story is compelling and interesting. It is written almost conversationally but still imparts to the reader as sense of the daily life of some well to do Roman as well as some historical events and places - and religious perspectives of the time. It is also part fantasy. Venus is very real and has a special interest for Sonata. She is also a jealous god who does not tolerate what she might perceive as anything less than total devotion. Sonata is to find out just how wrathful the supremely beautiful god can be.

In terms of the population who might enjoy this book I would suggest those who enjoy young adult and coming-of-age literature.
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This is a great read and excellent character development! I really liked this book and the ties to Greek mythology as well!
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