'Healer of Carthage' is a historical read with just a smidgen of sci-fi. Lisbeth, our MC, falls through a time portal to 3rd century Rome. And that is just the beginning of the craziness. As Lisbeth comes to, she is rapidly sold off as a slave to the rich, gorgeous Cyprian, with no say in the situation. Things continue to become wildly tangled: she discovers her long lost mother, battles an outbreak of the measles that is rapidly spreading out of control, and becomes hopelessly entangled in political intrigue.
We receive a gritty, historic look at the times. Bloody gladiator battles, the fledgling Christian church, and the complete disregard for women and slaves. This is your trigger warning: 'Healer of Carthage' contains physical abuse, rape, and some 'sensual language'. I didn't find the scenes graphic but merely a, sad, sign of the times.
I rated this one with 3.5 stars. You would enjoy this one if you like historic reads, jam packed reads, and quite a complicated romance.
Healer of Carthage is an epic, romantic adventure! As I began reading, reality faded and I found myself caught up in another world. Excellent characterization, fascinating history, and a compelling storyline make Healer of Carthage a must read! I highly recommend this fantastic series!
Healer of Carthage is the first book in Lynne Gentrys new The Carthage Chronicles series. It follows the story of Lisbeth Hastings and Cyprian Thascius. Im not typically into time travel stories, but Id heard great things about this one and decided to try it. I can happily say that it lived up to my expectations.
Ms. Gentry does a wonderful job with the details and descriptions. I was quickly draw into the story and had to often remind myself that I wasnt actually in third century Rome with the characters. I loved the modern feel to it, the comparisons between what we currently have and what life was like in that time. It provided a great reminder to be grateful for the advances we have, but also brought a new dimension to the story. I really enjoyed seeing Rome through both Lisbeths modern outlook and Cyprians ancient view.
Lisbeth Hastings is the heroine in this story. I confess, I didnt care for her at first. She is hard and closed off because of losing her mother at a young age, then struggling through med school and always feeling that she doesnt measure up. When she loses a patient, it seems her world has fallen apart. She seeks redemption for her mistakes and acceptance for who she really is. She is a little annoying at first, as she tries to adapt to being back in time, but that is actually probably a pretty accurate reaction, so I cant really complain. I did really enjoy watching her grow and come to care for the people she meets. She slowly begins to open up and let people in, and becomes more relatable. I also really liked her voice. She is a bit sarcastic and has a very blunt personality, along with a wry sense of humor. I often found myself laughing at one of her observations of ancient life.
Cyprian Thascius is the hero and he was everything I had expected, along with a few surprises to keep him from seeming stereotypical. He is strong, kind, but also a little ruthless at times. Hes willing to do almost anything to protect those he loves, even if it seems less than ethical. He is a Christian, which was interesting, especially considering that during this time period the church was heavily persecuted. He is a young Christian though, and doesnt always act in a way that is exactly a shining example of Christ, but this is also a very real and accurate portrayal. I loved seeing Lisbeth through his eyes, as he sees a strength she doesnt. He also sees the kindness she tries to hard to hide.
Their romance was interesting. It started out seeming a lot like an arrangement. There were few emotions involved, despite their attraction. Then as they got to know each other and learn their hearts, it slowly grew into something more. I enjoyed their sparring, as two very strong personalities clashed, but also the sweet moments that made me sigh. Their relationship isnt as fully developed as I maybe would have liked, but it does have to continue to advance through the next two books.
My favorite things about this book? How it drew me in and engaged my emotions. The descriptions were so vivid that I would look up from the book, a little surprised that I wasnt in Rome. Even though some of the emotions it evoked werent positive ones, such as the outrage I shared with Lisbeth during the chapter when they are at the Roman games, I still loved being so thoroughly draw in. There were a couple times when a scene would be so intense that I would have to lay the book down and take a break for a while. I found myself thinking about some of the parallels drawn in it and asking some of my own questions. I love books that stay with me long after Ive read the last page. Lynne is definitely an excellent writer, in my opinion. There are few authors who can pull me into a story like she does.
I also loved the reality portrayed in this book. It isnt all happily ever afters or sigh worthy endings. It is gut-wrenchingly honest about what life was like in ancient Rome: the upheaval, the political unrest, the corrupt officials, the religious persecution. All of it is woven through the story and I paints what I believe is a pretty accurate picture of what they faced in that time period. Its obvious Lynne put a lot of time and research into making the story as true to the times as possible.
Lynne also does a great job with the villains. I sincerely hated them and they were sufficiently disturbing. Id really hoped some horrible fate would befall them. Unfortunately, we dont get to find that out until the next book, or she may draw it out until the final one. So, I have awhile to continue hating them.
While Cyprian is a Christian, there actually wasnt as much spirituality as I had expected. I had hoped for more growth in Lisbeths faith, but I would have to assume that will come in later books. I had to keep reminding myself that this isnt a standalone. It is written to tightly connect with the next one, so anything that seems left undone or unsaid, will probably be expounded on in one of the next books.
One thing I will say is that I was so mad when I finished this book - I wanted the next one! I didnt want to have to wait until Return to Exile releases in January 2015. Were left with a huge cliffhanger and many questions, the biggest one being Whats going to happen next?! I will give you this warning, if youre looking for a feel-good, happily ever after story, then this isnt the book for you. It will take you through the wringer emotionally and leave you with a lot to think about.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance and suspense that draws you in from the start and doesnt let you go until long after youve read the last page.
It's no secret that I love all things Ancient Rome. Which, of course, is why I had to read this book. And, I loved it. It was so rich with history and intrigue and was very enjoyable to read.
Oh Lisbeth. Our main character. Yeah, I couldn't really stand her. From the beginning, she was rude and selfish, and all-around disagreeable. Then, she somehow travels back to the third century, which is a miracle in itself, and doesn't take a moment to listen to anyone else or figure out what's going on. She rushes into things without thinking about it, thinking only of herself. And the way she treated her mother...yeah, Lisbeth wasn't winning herself any favors.
But the other characters. I loved them. From Magdalena, who was strong even when having to live with a brute who abused her, to Ruth who was kind and helpful to Lisbeth no matter how rude she was. And of course, Cyprian, the kind Christian who was trying to help Lisbeth only to have her lash out at him over and over again. He was a new convert, keeping his faith under wraps to avoid persecution, even as he accepted many others into his home and helped them, even the sick.
This book was filled with history, and was obviously well researched. Carthage came alive in this novel, from the descriptions of the buildings and places, to the people. The gladiator games, the Senate house, all were described in a way that made you feel like you were experiencing it. Everything was on point, even up to the wedding and the festivities that would occur.
This was a very enjoyable, entertaining book. There is no preaching at you, instead the faith aspect comes at you very gently, as Cyprian and his people learn what their newfound faith means, and as Lisbeth slowly comes to terms with this "cult". Even with such a disagreeable main character, this book was very enjoyable to read.