Have you heard of Priscilla and Aquila? If you’ve read the Book of Acts in the Bible, you’ll recognize their names since they’re a couple who worked with the Apostle Paul. Something notable about these two is that Priscilla is not only listed alongside her husband, but listed first, which is nearly unheard of in a highly patriarchal society. With this background, I couldn’t wait to read Tessa Afshar’s historical novel, Daughter of Rome, featuring Priscilla and Aquila.
Tessa does a fantastic job of bringing Priscilla to life. Though a fictionalized account, Tessa infuses her stories with as much research as possible. Priscilla is an incredible young woman, especially since she lived in first century Rome. The book begins during a difficult choice in Priscilla’s young life before fast forwarding to her meeting of Aquila. The choices she made shape her and her view of herself, but do not taint her willingness to help others.
Aquila is a Jew born outside of Israel. Though disowned by his family for choosing to follow those called Christians who believe Jesus is the Messiah spoken about in the Torah, Aquila desires to live a pure life according to the Law of his ancestors. Meeting Priscilla, a Roman gentile, begins to change his perceptions… on everything.
I have read several of Tessa Afshar’s books and enjoyed every one of them. I love how she writes what is traditionally considered Biblical Fiction in a Historical Fiction tone. It breathes life into the story and adds a depth I miss in many other books of the Biblical Fiction genre. It’s also obvious how much research Tessa has put into her books. She brings the historical setting alive with textures and smells and sounds.
In Daughter of Rome, my only wish was that the last quarter of the book was not quite so episodic in an effort to bring the plot to a close. The rest of the story is fantastic in it’s ability to draw the reader into the emotional dilemmas of Priscilla and Aquila. One note about a possible trigger warning and spoiler alert: some of Priscilla’s struggles surround the topics of abortion, miscarriage, and childless-ness. This brings an emotional depth to the story that makes Priscilla even more real than before.
I would definitely recommend Daughter of Rome. And, if you like it, check out my reviews on two of Tessa Afshar’s other books: Thief of Corinth and Harvest of Rubies. I hope you’ll enjoy Priscilla and Aquila’s story as much as I did.
I received this book free from the author and her publisher in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”