By: Frances Watts
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's/Teenage)
Published by: ABC Books/Harper Collins
Published: August 2014
ISBN: 9780733332913


From bestselling and award-winning author Frances Watts comes the first in an incredibly exciting new series of standalone historical novels.

On the eve of her fifteenth birthday, Claudia is unexpectedly summoned to Rome by the father she hasn't seen in ten years, a wealthy and powerful senator. She finds herself with both a new family and a luxurious new home in the capital of the world's greatest empire.

But Claudia soon discovers a contest of power and ambition is secretly being waged - and she is the prize. Torn between two rivals for her hand in marriage, she must choose between her duty and her heart ... a choice that could have deadly consequences.

This is a gripping mystery of love and intrigue set in Ancient Rome.


With all of the feel of a classic epic set in Roman times, the story follows our heroine Claudia who lives a peaceful life in a small country town. Claudia is being raised by her Aunt and Uncle after her mother died during childbirth.

At fifteen, she is betrothed to a local boy by her Aunt and Uncle, and news of her impending wedding is sent to her father the powerful Senator Gaius Claudius Maximus. Although she hasn’t seen her father for ten years, when he receives this news she is immediately summoned to his estate.

Claudia has never seen such wealth and is quickly established as a part of this bigger family including a stepmother, stepbrother and two stepsisters.

With arranged marriages, deception and even a murder occurring in the household, as well as a blossoming love interest and all the wealth and excitement of Rome to contend with, will Claudia ever fit in with her new family? Or will she return to her quiet life with her Aunt and Uncle?

More than anything this is a classic love story about Claudia’s choice between the beautiful Lucius and her stern stepbrother Marcus. With competing forces influencing her decision, will Claudia find love at all?

A terrific plot with intriguing characters that readers, particularly girls 12+, will find absorbing.

Reviewed by Rob