Title: Healer of Carthage
Author: Lynne Gentry
Series: The Carthage Chronicles, #1
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Received via NetGalley
A modern-day doctor gets trapped in third-century Carthage, Rome, where she uncovers buried secrets, confronts Christian persecution, and battles a deadly epidemic to save the man she loves. Dr. Lisbeth Hastings, a first-year resident, is summoned by her eccentric father to join him at his archaeological dig. She is hesitant to accept his invitation, but when a tragic mistake ends her medical career, Lisbeth decides the only way to redeem her failure is to care for her confused father.
While exploring the haunting cave at her father’s dig, Lisbeth falls through a hidden hole and awakens to find herself the object of a slave bidding war! She tries to escape her captor, a wealthy Roman lawyer named Cyprian Thascius, and discovers that the city she remembers as ruins has somehow become brand-new. Who restored Carthage to a thriving metropolis? And if she is in the third century, how did this happen?
Cyprian believes God called him to rescue the beautiful and strange woman being auctioned off as a slave. He doesn't understand why saving the church of his new found faith requires him to love a mysterious woman who seems determined to get him killed by her stubbornness. But who is he to question God?
Their colliding worlds spark an intense attraction as Lisbeth and Cyprian soon find themselves united in a battle against a deadly epidemic. Together they confront Christian persecution, uncover buried secrets, and witness the beginnings of a medical revolution, but they fear Roman wrath will separate them forever. Will Lisbeth save the man she loves and the family she longs for—or will their separate worlds pull them apart forever?
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.
A Perfect Fit, novella 0.5
Return to Exile coming January 2015