Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore
Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety---while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry. So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church? Award-winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the l...more
I'm trying to think of a way to describe this book, and "immensely satisfying" is the only descriptor that's coming to mind. That seems so weak, though! "Satisfying" implies just-okayness, but Theodora was anything but "just okay."
I think what feels so satisfying about this novel is the realization that fine craftsmanship is still alive and well within historical fiction. Since the success of The Other Boleyn Girl, the general tone of HF has taken a bit of a nose-dive as more and more a ...more
Theodora is the fictionalised account of an historical figure, Theodora, who grew up a child actress (and therefore prostitute) in Constantinople in the sixth century, a period commonly known as B ...more
As a child, Theodora learned the hard way. She was beaten when her spirit rebelled against the eunuch’s cruel instructions and when her outspoken opinions got the better of her. Her family was disjointed at best and friendships hard won, but the people loved Theodora. She was one of them. She could command th ...more
3.5 out of 5
Theodora was one of the most influential women of her time. As a poverty-stricken dancer, as the most celebrated actress/whore in Constantinople, as a penitent nun in a commune in the desert, and as the wife of the most powerful man in Christendom, she commands attention and vast amounts of interest. Defying social strictures and traditions of her day, Theodora rose from a common birth and life to the most exalted position available: A ...more
Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Penguin Group USA.
Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore tells the story of Theodora, before and after she became one of the most powerful women in the Byzantine Empire’s history. The novel touches briefly on her adolescent years and how it began by the age of 5 when her mother offered up her and two other sisters as supporters to the Blue faction.
Theodora was a strong thinking and willful woman in a time when this ...more
Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy depicts Theodora from a young child until her marriag ...more
First and hopefully last book I pick up and cannot finish for 2019. I somehow doubt it will be though. One of my resolutions for this year was to stop making myself finish books I don't like. Life is much too short and there are so many great books waiting.
This book was just not for me. As I read through I kept getting glimmers of a good story hidden beneath too many layers of gobbledygook. The writing was atrocious. I sometimes had to read the same sentence multiple times to even get a sen ...more
My only criticism is that I didn't connect emotionally with Theodora. I read on out of curiosity but I wanted to care more about her.
The Byzantine Empress Theodora (c500-547CE) had an interesting career as an actor and a prostitute before becoming the wife of the Emperor Justinian. This novel by Stella Duffy, based on extensive research and accompanied by an impressive bibliography, is based on Theodora’s life from early childhood until just after her marriage to the Emperor Justinian.
The novel opens with the young child Theodora as part of a group being schooled by Menander about ...more
While the writing was sufficient to tell the story, there lacked the additional verbiage to make the book similar to other historical fiction that I've read and enjoyed. I don't intend for this to be a negative review. I enjoyed the book and would actua ...more
Advance reading e-book courtesy of Net Galley.
This was an interesting historical biographical novel of Theodora of Constantinople who rose from the underclass to become Empress of Rome and a saint of the Orthodox church. Due to family circumstances teen-age Theodora has to become a dancer/whore, which is the only profession available to young women of the underclass. From there she schemes and claws her way up to become the wife of Justinian and a powerful woman of the Roman Empire. A s ...more
It is clear that Duffy is trying to show, not tell; she just ...fails. At least when it comes to religion; Theodora's conversion has no emotional impact on me as the reader. By the end of the book, you sense that Duffy is just trying to finish; there's one sentence about how Theodora has lived in the imperial palace for five years, two of them as Justinian's wife; the wedding was, like, two pages earlier, and if you h ...more
Nope, I'm not one to read the dreadfully dry histories and biographies of these figures. I'm happy to let hardworking authors such as Robert Graves and Stella Duffy do the heavy lifting and then present me with well researched storie ...more
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