I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Montlake Romance on July 14, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Source: the Publisher
Phaedra, a dutiful daughter of Rome’s most influential senator, has no choice but to marry a man chosen by her father. But a chance encounter with handsome gladiator Valens Secundus sends her pulse racing—and, for the first time, makes her wish she could choose her own fate. They make each other a promise: she’ll insist on having the right to select her next husband, and he’ll do everything within his power to win his freedom.
A gladiatorial champion, Valens has fought his way up from poverty to become a star in the arena. The only two things he craves are his freedom and the luscious Phaedra, both seemingly far out of reach. But four years after their fateful meeting, Phaedra returns to Rome and soon becomes a widow, and Valens answers to no one but himself. They’re finally free to explore their fiery passion—while evading a powerful and wealthy new suitor of Phaedra’s—until Valens must return to the arena one last time. And in order for Phaedra to control her own destiny and claim her love, Valens will need to survive the battle of his life.
I really cannot properly articulate the reasons, but I really struggled with this book. It checks off a lot of my favorite things – the Roman period, romance, a strong willful heroine, a steadfast and strong hero. And yet it took me days to finish this book and I felt relief when I finally finished it. THE GLADIATOR’S MISTRESS is not a bad book. It really isn’t. The historical detail blends seamlessly into the narrative and is quite realistic to the point where it reminded me a lot of HBO’S stellar tv series, “ROME”. The plot had a good conflict, if a little lacking on subplots. I like the hero and the heroine. Something was missing and I really don’t know what it was.
Overall an okay read, but I would classify this novel as historical fiction instead of historical romance.