BlogHer Book Club Review: Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore

The moment I heard about Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore, I knew had to read it. I did not know who Theodora was, but I was instantly intrigued and needed to discover who this impressive woman was.

I was not disappointed. This is one of the best books I have read in a while. Duffy intricately weaves historical scenery, themes, and people into a narrative that is exciting, enchanting, and just plain interesting. Her characters are round, springing to life before my eyes. No small detail was missed and yet, it was not tedious to read either. She strikes a perfect balance.

Theodora, daughter of the a bear handler at the Hippodrome, is thrust into a life her mother did not want for her daughters when the patriarch dies in a freak accident. Spunky and smart, what Theodora lacks in beauty and grace, she makes up for in wit and flexibility. She quickly rises as a star, earning for her family as both an actress and whore. Nothing unusual at the time, though she is of the higher echelon as far as her bedroom performances go.

Following her heart–or, what she thought was her heart–into Africa and leaving behind her life on stage, Theodora steps into a future she could not have predicted. Tossed aside by her ambitionless government official lover for her maid and on the run to return home to Constantinople, Theodora is taken in by the Alexandrian Patriarch Timothy and begins a journey in faith she never would have voluntarily taken.

Sex, humor, religion, faith, and politics co-mingle in the tale of a woman often overlooked by history, despite her legendary social ascent. She is a woman you want to succeed–and know she will, no matter what obstacles are put into her path. Theodora is amazing.

Join the conversation on Theodora at BlogHer Book Club!

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone, based upon my personal experience. While I received a complimentary copy of Theodora from the BlogHer Book Club, which was used to write this review, as well as monetary compensation, there was no requirement for a positive review.

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