It is no secret that I love to read and I'm having a blast with the BlogHer Book Club. However, I had a hard time reading Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy. Historical fiction is not my favorite genre and I felt uncomfortable reading some of the themes in this book, especially those revolving around child labor & prostitution. In the back of my mind I could not get over the fact that I was reading fiction based on true events. Although I didn’t fully enjoy it, I did learn a lot about a character in history that is often forgotten or ignored.
Duffy introduces us to Theodora of Constantinople when she is working hard at becoming an actress and prostitute as a young girl. The book continues to follow Theodora as she becomes the empress of Rome and later on a respected figure in the Orthodox Church. What kept me reading this book were Theodora's extraordinary survival skills. Regardless of the struggles she faced she never gave up and always found a way to keep going.
At one point Theodora is betrayed by a man in her life. At this point in the book I was so heartbroken for her that I had to put the book down for a couple of days. I was pleasantly surprised when I retook the story because it’s not often that a woman in a book is strong and heroic beyond my imagination. I enjoyed the conclusion of the book more than the beginning and was glad to have read it and gain perspective on such an important part of history.
Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about this book.
This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.