Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vestal Virgin” as Want to Read:
Vestal Virgin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Vestal Virgin

3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  314 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Vestal Virgin—suspense in ancient Rome

Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really
Kindle Edition, second edition, 338 pages
Published December 11th 2010 by Adytum
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vestal Virgin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vestal Virgin

I, Claudius by Robert GravesThe First Man in Rome by Colleen McCulloughClaudius the God and His Wife Messalina by Robert GravesThe Agricola and The Germania by TacitusThe Twelve Caesars by Suetonius
Best Books About Ancient Rome
232nd out of 544 books — 864 voters
Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons by Sarolta A. TakacsFrom Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins by Ariadne StaplesRome's Vestal Virgins by Robin Lorsch WildfangVestal Virgin by Suzanne TyrpakHistory of the Vestal Virgins of Rome by T. Cato Worsfold
Vestal Virgins
4th out of 15 books — 3 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 735)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rob Campbell
Jun 10, 2011 Rob Campbell rated it it was ok
I have just finished reading Vestal Virgin and my feelings are mixed. The writing and pacing of the story are good--often compelling. However, I'm not convinced by the characters.

At the beginning of the book we are introduced to the vestal virgin, Elissa. Right away we discover that the emperor Nero has sentenced her brother, Marcus, to death for treason. The charges are false yet her brother dies anyway. The death of Marcus shapes the rest of the book: Elissa seeks revenge whilst Nero taunts h
Review copy courtesy of the publisher via LibraryThing's Member Giveaway

It almost pains me to give this book less than three stars, but I had such mixed feelings about the book there was no way I could say with confidence that I "liked it." The writing was extremely well-done, and it was obvious that Trypak really did her research on life ancient Rome during Nero's time. But I could only read the book in small doses, which detracted a lot from the good pacing of the story, and the overall flow.
Jan 17, 2013 liirogue rated it it was ok
This just doesn't quite work. I don't feel like the characters are fleshed out enough, or their actions don't mesh with how they've previously been described or portrayed. Nero is a one-dimensional bad guy, so his motivation seems to be "because I'm supposed to be the villain in this story." Elissa's sister is ridiculously over-the-top and quite annoying. Elissa's love interest comes across as a weak cardboard cutout that wanders through the story on occasion.

There is also a heavy streak of Chri
Jan 12, 2011 Marissa rated it really liked it
As an obssessive reader of historical fiction, I've been around the block so to speak when it comes to historical novels such as this one. There are many different types of historical fiction and this novel is what I call a lighter, cozy historical novel. That being said, this is one of the better ones I have read. It is certainly the best novel that I've read that is set in ancient Rome.

I can tell that much care went into the author's research and the effect is admirable authenticity. However
Karen Fowler
Jun 14, 2011 Karen Fowler rated it it was amazing
I was worried that Vestal Virgin would read too scholarly or dry, given the amount of research the author put into crafting this novel. Not only were my fears unfounded, but the rich detail and careful construction of the suspenseful plot actually made the novel go one stop past the "great book" designation.

Mind you, I have no idea if the factual information laced throughout the story is accurate but the author deftly wove the information in with such a light hand that it felt natural and true.
Jaidis Shaw
Mar 22, 2011 Jaidis Shaw rated it really liked it
Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak was nothing like I thought it would be. It was better! Normally I try and stay away from books set in ancient Rome because they always seem to irritate me, often telling the exact same story and are almost always predictable. Ms. Tyrpak wastes no time jumping into the action and setting up the story that will keep you hooked until you finish. I kept waiting for a spot where I could leave off for the night and return to it later but that spot never arrived. I read ...more
Andy Gavin
Mar 25, 2012 Andy Gavin rated it it was ok
Made it to about the halfway point. The prose was fine but workman-like. Clearly the author really knows her period. The thing was, I just wasn't engaged by anything other than the period itself (which I adore).
Kathy Spada
Oct 17, 2015 Kathy Spada rated it liked it
The Vestal Virgin started off quite strong with a great deal of promise. Clearly, the author did a great deal of research on life in Ancient Rome during the time of Nero. Her attention to the details of every day life was superb. I loved all the opening details of the Circus Maximus and the introduction of the protagonist, Elissa.
Elissa is attending the Circus Maximus and the Emperor Nero has chosen her brother Marcus as a sacrifice. After this inciting event, the plot becomes quite convoluted.
This is a historical novel set in ancient Rome. Elissa is a member of an aristocratic Roman family that has fallen afoul of Emperor Nero. Years earlier, in childhood, Elissa was chosen to serve as a virgin in the temple of the goddess Vesta, where she was made to take a life-and-death vow of chastity, and was trained to tend the goddess’s sacred fire.

The novel’s action begins when Elissa’s brother is arrested and charged with treason, and she is unable to stop his hideous public execution. With
Grace Krispy
Mar 04, 2011 Grace Krispy rated it really liked it
Taken from her home when still a child, Elissa is a revered Vestal Virgin. Somewhat sequestered from the rest of Roman society, educated and powerful in ways that are different from other women of the time, Elissa struggles between doing what is expected of her and dealing with her strong emotions of longing towards one man and hatred towards another. When her brother and sister become part of the drama that surrounds Elissa, she must fight with every bit of her being in order to survive the per ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Becomingme rated it really liked it
From my reveiw:
I feel remiss in taking such a long time to write this review...this book deserves better, much MUCH better. Let's just say that I had some serious writer's block and vacation time.

First off, to get some stuff out of the way...I read this book as part of "Member Giveaway/Early Review" program, and was very glad I got a chance to read it. Vestal Virgin is a nice Historical Romance with a lot of action to add to the romance, I mean, this takes place during the time
L.C. Evans
Jan 01, 2011 L.C. Evans rated it it was amazing
In general I'm a fan of historical fiction, including ancient Rome, so I was immediately drawn to Vestal Virgin. I was not disappointed. The author did a superb job with the setting. She deftly worked in details of life in ancient Rome, and I could easily understand the everyday life of the times and exactly what it meant to be a vestal virgin. The sights, the smells, the sounds--all seemed real as I watched the characters' lives unfold.

The virgins typically were chosen as children and took vow
Mar 18, 2011 TC rated it really liked it
I enjoy historical fiction and I found this book when the author was doing a giveaway on a forum. I have previously read Imperium by Robert Harris, and other similar books, which I found really interesting so reading about ancient Rome from the viewpoint of a woman was a tempting proposition.

Elissa is a vestal virgin, a priestess sworn to chastity, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. The vestals are envied by other women as they are allowed to own property and have a much greater degree
Lisa Yarde
Dec 27, 2011 Lisa Yarde rated it really liked it
A priestess in Nero’s Rome discovers hidden truths about faith and herself, in Suzanne Tyrpak’s Vestal Virgin. The Emperor dictates the fate of Rome citizens, but when the priestess Elissa Rubria Honoria rejects his manipulation, a chain of events follow that endanger Elissa and everyone she cherishes. As calamities befall her, she also uncovers long-buried secrets about her past.

In Elissa’s childhood, her parents surrendered her to the care of the Vestal Virgins, honored women bound by vows of
Sep 01, 2011 Joy rated it liked it
This is a Kindle book that I picked up due to the great review it got on Big Al's Books and Pals blog a few weeks ago. The setting of the story is Rome under the Emperor Nero, and the story is centered around one of the Vestal Virgins, a 22/23 year old woman named Elissa. She was taken from her home at age 9 to train and become one of the tenders of the sacred flame, and like the other Vestal Virgins her time of service is 30 years, leaving her chained to the temple until she is 39. The story is ...more
Suzanne Tyrpak
Dec 16, 2010 Suzanne Tyrpak added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
This is my debut novel--I hope you check it out.

Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth
Bill Thibadeau
Jun 16, 2011 Bill Thibadeau rated it it was amazing
Other reviews tell you the storyline of this fine novel set in Rome during the time of Nero so I will concentrate on the writing.

Suzanne Tyrpak has shown herself to be a first tier writer. She has woven a tale of life and tribulations of a historically accurate Vestal Virgin. I was unaware that they even existed. Suzanne has crafted a wonderfully articulate story of fictional characters interwoven amongst historical figures.

Characters are introduced cleanly giving the reader the ability to immer
Jun 08, 2012 Joyce rated it it was ok
The author has certainly done her homework. Her descriptions of 1st century Rome - its glory and its squalor - are unmatched. She plops you right down in the middle of the city and gives you a whirlwind tour of the nooks and crannies of life in the beating heart of the Roman Empire.

However, her ability to create characters and plot are less than satisfactory. I read this book because 1st century Rome is my favorite period of history and I love to get insight into living during those times and ex
Jun 27, 2012 Ana rated it liked it
"Vestal Virgin" a fast-paced and intriguing novel about a Vestal Virgin plotting to avenge her brother's death.

Shame has fallen upon the House of Rubrius. Marcus, once one of Emperor Nero's beloved, has been accused of treason and killed at the arena. Flavia has been seduced by Nero only to be cast aside as a prostitute. Elissa, a Vestal Virgin, feels that the gods have abandoned her, allowing her siblings to succumb to these horrors. With her faith in the ancient gods wavering, she meets Paul o
Alice Yeh
Mar 13, 2011 Alice Yeh rated it it was amazing
In Vestal Virgin, Tyrpak combines elements of Greek tragedy, modern storytelling, and Freudian psychology. Readers are gradually led through the destruction of a family, the religious awakening of two involuntarily celibate individuals, and the vicissitudes of a mentally unstable monarch. (My mental construct of the latter bore a striking resemblance to Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus in the movie Gladiator—I blame the hubris and the unhealthy sexual behaviors, but I digress.)

Tyrpak's story focuses o
Krista Ashe
Mar 12, 2012 Krista Ashe rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-112-of-2012
I've never really been a fan of ancient Rome or the Greeks, but this book caught my eye because the heroine, Elissa, begins to question her practices of worshipping the gods when she hears about a man named Jesus.

While you might think this is Christian fic, it is far from it. Nero comes off as the tyrant, maniacal pervert he was--eventually having both Elissa, her sister Flavia, and their brother, Marcus...who he has burnt alive for allegedly being a traitor.

Rome comes off in all its hedonisti
Eva Kristin
May 07, 2014 Eva Kristin rated it it was ok
Hm. The language in this book is actually quite good; it’s a pity it takes more to tell a story well. I found it hard to care about the characters, because they weren’t believable. Actually, it didn’t seem like they believed particularly in the story they were in themselves, even. For instance, the main character, a vestal virgin called Elissa, is repeatedly threatened with the punishment for losing her virginity, which is being buried alive. But she doesn’t seem to take it seriously, so why sho ...more
Jeff Dawson
Feb 06, 2012 Jeff Dawson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in Ancient Rome
Does the coming and goings of empires long lost interest you? Do you prefer a story rife with internal conflict and the downfall of powers to be? Or maybe you prefer the handsome young hero to unshackle the chains of chastity?

If you answer yes to any of the above you will not be disappointed. I haven't read a Greek tragedy since the days of high school. Suzanne does an excellent job with the time honored fascination with the fall of Rome and the decadence under Caligula and Nero.

She meticulousl
Dec 23, 2010 s0nicfreak rated it really liked it
Don’t let the fact that this is a well-researched book set in ancient Rome put you off. This story about feelings toward sexuality and trying to juggle faith and emotions is timeless. However, it also does a wonderful job of setting the stage of ancient Rome. Make sure you have some time when you begin reading this – you may not want to put it down, and it took me longer to read than most Kindle books (which is a plus). And you may want to keep Google handy; there were a few words I had to look ...more
May 28, 2011 Krystal rated it really liked it

This novel is historical fiction based upon real people and events. For many readers, this factual basis will be a huge draw. The reader will be able to learn and read about early Christian history through the characters' eyes and whispered dialogue. The reader will literally experience ancient Rome, the author craftily creates the setting. The details are intricate and well-explored. The virgins are chosen as children and promise to serve for 30 years. Elissa is very likable and a strong woman.
Dec 08, 2013 Abigail rated it liked it
It's hard to describe this book. The story is not really what I was expecting based on the description. It's not a Christian book, not quite a romance, not a mystery, not a supernatural book, yet it has elements of all of them.

I found the story interesting. Towards the end, when things are getting intense I found myself pulled into the story and wanting to know what happened next.

The background and Roman culture was obviously well researched and the author knew what she was talking about.

Jul 29, 2011 Meg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to readers who like to read about older cultures. If you are looking for a book along the lines of Lindsey Davis or Steven Saylor, this book is much more serious without the flashes of humor to lighten it up, and I did feel that a little humor and/or action would do much to move this story along. I also was surprised to see the strong thread of Christianity in this book, it was unexpected and I appreciate what the author was doing, but it added to the heavy ...more
Grace Elliot
Aug 05, 2012 Grace Elliot rated it really liked it
'Vestal Virgin' is a well written book that is a little confused - it can't make up it's mind whether it's historical fiction or romance.
Set in the Rome of emperor Nero, the full horror of having a man with the morals of a monster, masqueraiding as a god and all the power that entails, is vividly brought to life. However, where this books slips slightly is in being neither one thing nor the other. The premise of the story is that a vestal virgine, sworn to a life of chastity a) falls in love an
Jan 02, 2015 Joanne rated it liked it
I like how the author wove three stories together, Nero with all his deprivations, Vestal Virgins with all their regulations, and Paul with all his Christian followers. Historical fiction set in Rome is always a pleasure to read. This book had unique characters, making it very compelling. I'd rate it as a 3.5.
Jun 11, 2011 Rhonda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its a look at Rome in the time of Nero. With some real figures and places woven into a story with fiction characters of what the lives where like.
Elissa Rubria Honoria is a vestal virgin and bound to serve as a virgin for 30 years. She cares for her family and tries to save her brother than her sister from Nero.
Gallus Justinus loves Elissa and has been in the senate and following Paul teachings of Jesus.
Tells a lot of sex and drugs and things Nero and his court are up to. How he can turn from fr
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • First Aid Manual: The Authorised Manual of St John Ambulance, St. Andrews Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross
  • The City of Refuge (Memphis Cycle, #1)
  • Crossroads Road
  • Rumors of Eden
  • Falling Uphill
  • Caribbee
  • No Alibi (Doucette, #1)
  • Memoirs of an Antihero
  • Hurricane
  • A Million Tears
  • A Class Apart (Class Heroes, #1)
  • Following My Toes
  • Muffin Man
  • Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution
  • Burden Kansas
  • A Stray Drop of Blood (A Stray Drop of Blood #1)
  • Confucius Cat Says...
  • The Nexus (The Nexus, #1)
Suzanne Tyrpak ran away from New York a long time ago to live in Colorado. She works for an airline which allows her to travel and do research for her books. When she’s not writing, she enjoys riding her bike, swimming, skiing, and dancing. In her next life she would like to be a belly dancer or her cat.

Her new novel, Rosy,—is an urban story set 1970s New York City. Her historical novels, Vestal V
More about Suzanne Tyrpak...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Stars believe there is no distance between them and me.” 0 likes
More quotes…