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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
In the Shadow of Rome is a work of fiction in the historical, action, and interpersonal drama subgenres, and was penned by author Joanna B McGarry. Intended for the mature adult reading audience, the work does contain some scenes of moderate violence and non-explicit sexual references. Set in ancient Britain on the site of what would eventually become known as Dumbarton and Old Kilpatrick in modern Scotland, we find ourselves following the tale of Sigdan, a Roman auxiliary and former sailor, and Giorsal, a young woman native to the lands around the Roman settlement. What follows is a tale of trials, clashing cultures, dangerous officials, and the power of love against a brutal regime.
One of the things I enjoyed most about author Joanna B McGarry’s writing style was her commitment to character and realism, which made the central pairing in this sweeping historical novel a truly emotive focal point for the plot to revolve around. Balancing historical romance with accurate depictions of the times, politics, social standings, and brutal punishments was no mean feat, but I always felt that there was plenty of depth, detail, and research enmeshed in every chapter. I also really enjoyed the dialogue, which is accessible to modern audiences but still gave a sense of period and propriety to the cast of characters. Without wishing to give away the latter half of the novel, I found the journey of Sigdan and Giorsal a striking, emotional, and realistic experience for the period. Overall, I would recommend In the Shadow of Rome to both romance and historical fiction fans alike.