First, let me start off by saying that Margaret George is a historical fiction writer. She wouldn’t be placed in the romance category but she is definitely an author that anyone can enjoy. George has been on my to read list for such a long time and even though “The Confessions of Young Nero” is neither light reading nor quick reading, it is a worthwhile read!
George has a reputation for bringing characters to live and her interpretation of Nero are not exception. Immediately she grabbed my attention with two hooks:1) first person point of view which gave an intimacy to the story surrounding Nero and his ascension to power. The first opening chapters build up the tension and political atmosphere that was present during Nero’s time. The second aspect that quickly captured my attention was the treachery of his uncle trying to drown him! His familial relationships were not traditional as George presented his mother, Agrippina to be a very power hungry driven individual. I knew that this book was going to be interesting and full of conflict. Although at times historical fiction can be weighed down by too many details, George really had a good balance. Although, George does mention Nero’s marriage to Poppaea it is by no means the central focus of the story or of Nero’s life. Although not a romance centered story, there are many aspects that are interesting, such as Nero’s meeting with the Apostle Paul and other historical figures.
Although I knew nothing of Nero before reading this book, I had the impression that he was a success-driven-stop at nothing -ruthless emperor. Although George still validates this point of Nero, she also makes him seem very humane and it is easy to empathize with him. George is also able to write a lengthy book about Nero and keep the readers guessing about how his life will conclude in the book that is set to follow. Overall, you can’t go wrong with this book or for George for that matter. Her writing is engaging and Nero is anything but boring.
**ARC provided by Publisher**