Sunday, November 4, 2012

Striving to be Free



Tessa, sold at an early age to a woman who trains beautiful young girls in the skills of being a hetaera, longs for freedom. She has a luxurious life supported by Glaucus, one of the leaders of Rhodes, but she is basically a slave subject to Glaucus whims. One night, having had enough, she storms away from a dinner where Glaucus entertains his friends. Later he accosts her, they struggle, and Glaucus is accidentally killed. Horrified, Tessa sees all her dreams of freedom vanishing, but with the help of Simeon, Glaucus' steward, and Nikos, who she believes is a newly acquired slave, she continues to fight to attain her freedom.

The setting is beautifully done. The Isle of Rhodes, the people, the architecture and the politics all come alive. The historical detail is excellent. For me, the characters were not as well conceived as I would have liked. Tessa doesn't trust anyone. While this is understandable, it seemed that the author carries it too far. When people try to help her, she pushes them away hard. I suppose this could be psychologically accurate, but it seemed a little overdone.

The plot surrounds keeping Glaucus' death a secret so that Tessa can accompany him to Crete and gain her freedom. I found keeping the death a secret in a house full of servants with his wife in the same house a bit far fetched. However, the book is well worth reading for the historical detail. I recommend the book for anyone who enjoys historical novels with a Christian undertone.

I reviewed this book for the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.