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!
AUTHOR: Kathryn Amurra
GENRE: Historical fiction, romance
PUBLICATION: May 2020 by Independently Published
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★
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!
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! 💜