As quickly as I read books, I thought it a fine idea to find a place to post my recent recommendations, future finds and stash of swaps.
At the bottom, checkout my Goodreads library shelf. I'll be posting reviews there as I finish books here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy

The creative imagination and detailed research required to bring to life an historical figure, big or small, is evident in Stella Duffy's Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore. A relatively small character of history, Theodora was not a person included in most survey courses, so the subject was not as well-known or documented as Queen Elizabeth. The extensive bibliography shows the varied sources available to the author, but the nuances of the title character can only be surmised. The results were believable.

Theodora lives in a world of child labor, rigid class structure, slavery and organized prostitution is rampant among these lowest of classes. The passion and fortitude of such a young girl is made believable and becomes even more so as she matures into decisions and situations beyond her years. The author's clever device of separating Theodora's self from her body, cynical and detached throughout her life, is realistic. Using this not only as a defense mechanism, but ultimately to ensure her psyche's survival, Theodora's intelligence and intuition as envisioned by the author is refreshing. Remaining detached and cynical until her self-realization is complete in the arms of her Justinian illustrates what must have been an amazing strength of character.

Seeing characters from history brought to life colorfully and dynamically is enjoyable. In creating a lifelike and believable character from sparse historical records and contexts, and weaving an entertaining biographical account of this colorful woman, the author has certainly succeeded in all regards.

In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.  

No comments:

Post a Comment