To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Twilight Empress (The Theodosian Women) (Volume 1) Paperback – May 8, 2017
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
FAITH L. JUSTICE is a science geek and history junkie, which is reflected in her writing. Her short stories and poems have appeared in such publications as "The Copperfield Review", "Beyond Science Fiction and Fantasy", and the "Circles in the Hair" anthology. Faith has published in such venues as "Salon.com", "Writer’s Digest", "The Writer", and "Bygone Days". She’s an Associate Editor for "Space & Time Magazine", a frequent contributor to "Strange Horizons", and co-founded a writer’s workshop more years ago than she cares to admit. To contact Faith, read her essays and interviews, or get a sneak preview of her historical novels, visit her website at faithljustice.com.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Placida is a force to be reckoned with. I am so happy I got the chance to learn about her life. Even though women were not allowed to rule in their own right, Placida managed to keep Rome together in its dying days. I was amazed by her patience and willingness to understand and learn from the Goths when she was originally captured instead of just fight back. She seemed to continually look at decisions long term and for the good of her people and land. The story follows Placida from a young women to her death. I very much enjoyed watching her grow and seeing how she hand a hand in political decisions through her brother, both of her husbands and her son. As conflict rose throughout the territories and Placida aged, Placida's job became more and more difficult. Through the writing, I got a wonderful sense of Placida's character while sticking to the history of the time period. Overall, a breathtaking and immense journey through one inspirational and impactful woman's life in Rome.
Full disclosure – I was about a fifth of the way through Twilight Empress when I started to get the feeling the story was familiar. I finally remembered that I read another book about Placidia (Nobilissima by Carrie Bedford) a few years ago. All credit to this author’s skill that I didn’t feel the story I was reading was rehashing old ground. In fact, what I really liked was the way the author breathed life and personality into the characters around the bare bones of the known historical facts.
The story opens with the sacking of Rome and capture of Placidia, sister of the Western Roman Emperor Honorius, by King Alaric of the Goths. Alaric hopes to use Placidia as a bargaining chip to persuade Honorius to grant the Goths land and food in return for peace. This method of negotiation will become very familiar as the book progresses since this is a story characterised by intrigue, betrayal, political manoeuvring, treachery and murder. But it is also a convincingly told human story of love and loss set against larger political events.
The message that emerges is a universal and seemingly eternal one: that the source of most conflict is a desire for security, for enough food and a place to call home and in which to raise a family. As if we needed reminding, it also recalls that when the powerful plot and scheme, it is the ordinary people that suffer.
In Placidia, the author gives us a convincing picture of a strong, capable woman with as much courage, guile and intellect as any of her male contemporaries but with the misfortune to be born a woman in an age when – even as a member of the Imperial family – that consigned her to the role of wife and mother. Although not conventionally beautiful (for the times), it seems these characteristics, and her innate contradictions, made Placidia particularly attractive to men because she inspired lifelong devotion in many of them.
This remarkable woman outlived two husbands, survived capture and imprisonment, navigated her way through political intrigue and frequent plots against her, dying eventually of old age but not before she had seen off plenty of enemies, either by outwitting them or by more violent means: ‘You forgot I am a princess, raised in the Imperial court. Treachery and betrayal were my tutors and playfellows. Revenge is not only a Gothic custom.’
I really enjoyed reading her story in Twilight Empress.
Twilight Empress has made Galla Placidia into a relatable and sympathetic character. She is strong and determined. She faces many tragedies. However, she overcomes them. She mostly makes the best of every situation she’s in. She inspires the loyalty and love of her subjects. Still, Galla Placidia has her flaws. She can be selfish, judgemental, and ambitious. Despite these flaws, Galla Placidia is a likable character. It’s clear that she is married to her empire. She will do whatever she can to save it. Thus, Galla Placidia mostly reminded me of Elizabeth I.
Overall, this book is about love, tragedy, sacrifice, and duty. While Galla Placidia is a complex character, the other supporting characters are not. They are all static characters. Some of them can be a bit cartoonish, like Emperor Valentinian and Emperor Honorius. Galla Placidia’s relationships with her family and friends are not given enough depth. Therefore, I would really adore this book more if it was given more depth and character development. Still, Twilight Empress is a fast-paced historical novel that is filled with romance, political and courtly intrigue, and drama that it will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens to her. I can’t wait to read the next book in The Theodosian Women series about Empress Pulcheria. Twilight Empress will appeal to fans of Margaret George, Libbie Hawker, and Ki Longfellow.
(Note: This book was given to me as part of a blog tour.)