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I Am Livia (2014)

I Am Livia (2014)

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3.94 of 5 Votes: 5
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Lake Union Publishing

About book I Am Livia (2014)

Disappointing. I picked up this book because I'm interested in Roman history, it had a lot of strong reviews, and it was on sale as a Kindle First book for a couple of bucks. I was dismayed to find the prose, the treatment of Livia Drusilla's rise to power as the wife Caesar Augustus, and their relationship were all written on the level of YA. Sigh. Livia was undoubtedly a complex person with a lot of motives. She has been often portrayed as a scheming poisoner, most notably in Robert Graves's I, Claudius. Ms. Smith endeavors to remediate that depiction and replace it with a woman who is a patriot. I think we can safely say that no one knows the truth or can know the truth of events that occurred 2000 years ago. The main reason that the image of the poisoner is so pervasive is that Graves's depiction is so much better. His writing, his plotting, his narration, his characterization are all so much stronger—written by an adult for adults. Smith's book focuses on the romance between Octavius and Livia, and it does so at the level of The Hunger Games or Divergent. While these books are not bad, they are not adult books. Nor is this one. Livia tells the story of the wife of who we know as Augustus Caesar, but she is defined in the novel as far more than simply his wife. I've not read much of Augustus Caesar, but apparently she is often depicted negatively in those accounts. This novel re-imagines her as strong, independent, and intelligent from girlhood on, chafing at the limits imposed upon her and Rome by men. It is a powerful work and also a love story between two people as politically powerful as one might imagine. Definitely recommended.

Do You like book I Am Livia (2014)?

This is a good read. Having just visited Rome, I could visualize the sites and felt more connected.

Not that keen although some of it is interesting

3.5 stars

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