Review: Soothsayer by Kathryn Amurra

Hello and welcome — you know what, fixed-in-stone openings are overrated. I AM ALIVE FOLKS. I have been an abysmal blogger as of late; I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks, which is a record for me 😬 In my defense, school life has been pretty fraught recently. Tests, quizzes, endless assignments, projects, grades, the subsequent and inevitable mental breakdowns… you know the drill.

But hey, I’m back! Equipped with a book review, at that! Soothsayer was a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts about it with you all!

TITLE: Soothsayer
AUTHOR: Kathryn Amurra
GENRE: Historical fiction, romance
PUBLICATION: May 2020 by Independently Published
PAGES: 280
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

OFFICIAL BLURB

Aurelia has always valued love and happiness over titles and power. Though her kind-hearted father has allowed her to turn away suitor after suitor in pursuit of a love she cannot yet define, when he dies her choices die with him. Knowing that marrying the elderly governor of a neighboring province can secure her mentally challenged brother’s safety, she gives up on her dream of finding love in return for his protection.Cassius is the ill-fated captain of the governor’s guard tasked with escorting the Lady Aurelia and her unpleasant aunt to the governor’s estate. Since the soothsayer Tullia foretold an early death for him, Cassius wants nothing more than to keep his hands busy with labor and his heart free from any connections to the world he believes he will be leaving soon. As they work through a series of misfortunes on the road to the governor’s province, the words of the soothsayer start to make sense, and together they find the courage to allow their true destiny to unfold.

Trigger warnings: death of a loved one (parent, relative), misogyny, slavery, forced marriage, dubious consent scenarios (touching, kissing)

Thank you so much to the author for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Soothsayer takes place in Ancient Rome in the 2nd century AD, where a young woman named Aurelia has been forced to accept an offer of marriage from an governor of a neighboring province who is over three times her age. Recently orphaned, Aurelia has no other means of providing for her mentally challenged younger brother. It’s on the disastrous journey to the governor’s house for the wedding that she begins to form a bond with Cassius, the captain of the guard tasked with bringing her safely to their destination. Cassius, who has spent nearly his entire life behind walls of his own making, knows that anything between the two of them must end once they reach the city… but will they both be able to look past their fear of changing the fates laid out for them in order to take a chance at true love?

I am obsessed with all things Ancient Rome, so I was beyond thrilled when the author reached out to me about this book! And my expectations were, for the most part, not disappointed! Soothsayer is a lovely historical fiction novel that explores themes of fate, destiny, and courage while still managing to develop a perfectly swoon-worthy romance.

Cassius and Aurelia were an amazing pair. Aurelia is a truly admirable young woman who is determined to live by her own rules and standards… but is willing to sacrifice those same to keep her loved ones safe. Her character immediately caught my attention, and I absolutely loved following along her physical and emotional journey throughout the book! 

Cassius, on the other hand, took a bit of warming up to. His aloofness initially made it difficult for me to connect with him — but as we get to know him better and read about how his expectation of an early death has affected the way he perceives things, I grew to admire him for his selflessness and innately caring nature. His character growth from the beginning of the book to the very end was so captivating, and I found tears rolling down my face during a scene he’s involved in that takes place in a certain bedroom. If you know, you know 😭

But I have to admit, the beginning was rocky. The first half of the book — i.e., the meet-cute and the actual journey alluded to in the blurb — felt rather stilted. Aurelia and Cassius inexplicably thought of each other more often than they thought about anything else, even before they started getting to know one another, and the romantic moments in the woods came off as more awkward than tender for me. But as soon as these two actually reached their destination, I couldn’t put the book down. Although the beginning of the relationship was hasty, the author rocked the yearning and the angst once the obstacles became less physical and more emotional. Politics in the city makes everything a hundred times better. Always 👍

All in all, Soothsayer is a solid read for all HF romance fans! If you’re in the mood for:

  • something deep and thoughtful… 
  • a promised happily-ever-after… 
  • a short read that packs a punch… 
  • learning some random facts about Ancient Rome… 
  • or all of the above… 

… then this book is perfect for you!! I can’t wait to see what Kathryn Amurra comes up with next!

I’ve decided to create a section in my book reviews to shout-out other reviews of the same book that I’ve discovered around the blogosphere. I think it’s a great opportunity to share opinions that don’t necessarily match up with my own!

Check out these other reviews of Soothsayer: Julie @ One Book More || Aria @ Book Nook Bits || Maisy @ Hawthorne Book Reviews

Abby the Christian Bookworm

Reading about Cassius’s struggle with the idea that the prophecy he received at such a young age was not set in stone brought to mind how a lot of people today struggle with the concept of an infallible God. I see people asking If God is really so powerful, then why is there so much suffering in the world? and If God is really so loving, then why do people get hurt all the time? And I have the answer.

I don’t know.

You can ask any theologian or pastor, but you’re not going to get a better answer elsewhere. We don’t know the ways of God. We don’t know the answers to any of these questions. All we know is that God is good. He is God; He is good; and the Bible is God’s good Word. That’s what we hold onto daily. And that’s enough.

Alright, we went a little deeper than usual in the Christian Bookworm section, but I just needed to get that out of my system. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and this book review was the perfect excuse for me to pour all of those deep thoughts over your head 😂

Anyway, thank you for reading if you made it to the end! How about you? Have you read Soothsayer? Is it on your TBR? I’d love to catch up in the comments if I’ve missed out on anything special on your blog during my impromptu hiatus!

And please: feedback on the yellow text background? I have zero knowledge of how to manage an aesthetic and I highly doubt my own knowledge of what a color scheme is… 😅

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the day, everyone! 💜

27 thoughts on “Review: Soothsayer by Kathryn Amurra

    1. Thank you so muchJulie!! The romance was definitely one of the best parts of this book 😍 And you’re very welcome — your review was the one to actually bring this book into my radar, so it would be remiss of me not to mention it 😊 Thank you for stopping by!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. haha! dont worry, even my presence on my blog has been somewhat weird… sometimes i dont post for 2 weeks straight, and sometimes twice a week.. i honestly dont even know whats going on ¿? soothsayer sounds like a wonderful book – and i can’t wait to start reading it! lovely review ❤😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaha I’m so glad you found this relatable — this seems to be a universal struggle for book bloggers everywhere 😂 And I hope you enjoy Soothsayer as much as I did when you get to pick it up! I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on it 🤗 Thanks for reading and leaving this lovely comment, Ahaana 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this! Also, I can definitely relate to all that school stress, so I really hope things calm down for you soon! And I like the yellow background! (Though my aesthetic expertise is pretty much nonexistent, so I’m not sure how valid my opinion is 😂)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Naemi!! And oh gosh I’m so glad to find someone who relates…. I have a few days off next month so hopefully I’ll have time to read some of my stress away 😆 Ah thanks for the feedback as well — aesthetics are just so hard, am I right or am I right?! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, Abby! I love the ancient Rome setting – glad you enjoyed 😍

    Not to worry about taking 2 weeks away, we do need to take a break sometimes. But your absence was definitely felt! 🥰 How are you? I hope school is going well!

    Have a lovely weekend 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you Stephen!! I’m just really obsessed with Ancient Rome for some reason, so this book was a great chance for me to feed my inner geek 😆

      Awww you’re too sweet ☺️ I’m doing… okay, I guess? Mental breakdowns are a constant risk but I think I’m (sort of) getting the hang of how to work this whole online school thing out? But ask me again at the end of November, I’ll probably have a different answer by then 😂

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment, Stephen — I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend as well 💛

      Like

      1. You’re welcome! It is a really interesting subject. I love learning in general, so it is always great when you can do that through books ☺

        I’m sure you do wonderfully with school. It must difficult to get your head around everything, but you will get there, Abby. You clearly care about it a lot, so that is always a good start 🥰❤

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right?? Ancient Rome is criminally underrated as a book setting!!!

      School is absolutely such a big pain — that’s honestly one of the most relatable things I’ve read in weeks 😂

      Thank you so much for your kind words… they really mean a lot 💛💛 It’s always a pleasure chatting with you, Eryn; I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Been there, done that- the stresses of school. That is why during university, I went to student activity events and went to The Gathering every week. Was a nice break from all of that mess.

    My TBR list seems short, but it is longer than it appears- Christmas Classics Book, Little Women, Hard Times, Reread Harry Potter, Reread Narnia, and Nevermoor Series. Technically Tom Sawyer is on that list- but recently started it. The series are why it is much longer than it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes — school stress seems to be a universal experience! Taking breaks is definitely really important, which I think a lot of us seem to forget now and then. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally should always be a priority.

      Book series definitely take up the bulk of my TBR as well, especially when it comes to series that are 3 or more books long… good luck with reading all those books, hope you enjoy them!! Thanks for stopping by Meg 🙂

      Like

      1. I never really went to sports games.

        Did more student activity and club events: from Pinterest Night to Candy and Critters to School Dances to Octoberfest to Gingerbread House Making to seeing the tours of Les Mis/Wicked among other memories helped

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Abby welcome back! Been missing your posts… sorry I am really late to this one ahh.

    First off, thank you so much for this review! It came at such a good time. I suddenly realised that this whole year all my hist fics have all been about world wars so I’m trying to read hist fics from different time periods – Ancient Rome sounds perfect. 🤩

    I loved character-driven books so I’m glad you enjoyed following the journey of Aurelia… she sounds like the kind of character I would immediately click with – brave and one not willing to accept societal norms… Cassius sounds so memorable as well! 🥰

    Also, I really liked the way you summarised the book in bullet points – very succint and persuasive. 👍 Ah the yellow looks good, don’t worry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much Cherelle!! And I can relate to that — war HFs are always the ones that are the most hyped, but I adore other settings as well! I have a particular obsession with books set in ancient civilizations…

      And yes!! Aurelia and Cassius were both so lovable in their individual ways! And their romance was just *chef’s kiss* 😚 Ah so glad to hear you liked the bullet points and the yellow! Good to see my attempted aesthetic wasn’t a complete failure 😂

      Thank you so much for this comment Cherelle — always a pleasure chatting with you! And you’ve just reminded me that I should really get my next post up already… 😅 I hope you have a lovely day 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

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