Call to Juno by Elisabeth Storrs
Review copy provided by publisher
Lake Union Publishing, April 2016
Synopsis- Four unforgettable characters are tested during a war between Rome and Etruscan Veii.
Caecilia has long been torn between her birthplace of Rome and her adopted city of Veii. Yet faced with mounting danger to her husband, children, and Etruscan freedoms, will her call to destroy Rome succeed?
Pinna has clawed her way from prostitute to the concubine of the Roman general Camillus. Deeply in love, can she exert her own power to survive the threat of exposure by those who know her sordid past?
Semni, a servant, seeks forgiveness for a past betrayal. Will she redeem herself so she can marry the man she loves?
Marcus, a Roman tribune, is tormented by unrequited love for another soldier. Can he find strength to choose between his cousin Caecilia and his fidelity to Rome?
Who will overcome the treachery of mortals and gods?
Call to Juno is the third book in the Tales of Ancient Rome saga, which includes The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice.
Review- Call to Juno is the third and final installment of this epic saga set in ancient Rome. When I picked up The Wedding Shroud (the first book) back in 2011 I was absolutely enthralled. It’s probably still one of my all-time favourite novels. As far as historical novels go, this series is so unique. It’s set in Italy (big thumbs up!) and it introduced me to an era that is much earlier than many of the books I tend to read in this genre. I liked how Storrs expanded the character viewpoints to include two other women in the second book and that this continued on in the third.
The heroine of the story is Caecilia, Roman born but adopted by Veii when she married Mastarna, the now King of Etruscan Veii. Following on from the last novel, there’s a war brewing between the city and Rome. Their strength, love and values are tested at every turn in Call to Juno. It was great to see this pair continuing to stay strong and fight together no matter what hurdles that come their way.
Wet nurse and servant to the King and Queen, Semni tries to overcome her past betrayal to her employers while creating a future life and family with her partner Arruns. She was probably the least likeable female character in my opinion, but she did grow up a lot more in this novel and made some brave choices.
On the other side of the battle, we gain further insight into Pinna a former prostitute who has become concubine to the Roman general Camillus. She grew further as a character in this story and became a strong female influence on the Roman front without compromising her values and sense of justice.
We are also shown the viewpoint of Marcus, Caecilia’s cousin who is part of the rise against Veii. He has many emotional and physical challenges to face as he works toward bringing down his cousin’s family and power.
As in the previous two novels, there’s a lot of spiritual and religious influence that plays an important role in each of the characters in the novel and realistically reflects the era in which they are making decisions. The author did a wonderful job at moving forward with the women in the story as well as the plot and tying up many of the loose ends that were left unanswered in earlier books. I must say, I was a little teary at the end, as the story took an unexpected (very unexpected!!) turn. However, I was left with a thread of hope that perhaps a spin-off series could be in the works by the author! This is an epic series and I’d highly recommend it.
Call to Juno can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers