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Twilight Empress

(The Theodosian Women #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. ...more
Kindle Edition, 392 pages
Published May 12th 2017 by Raggedy Moon Books
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all who like novels on strong women
Enthralling recounting of the life of Galla Placidia, sister to Emperor Honorius, 5th century. Captured by the Goths, she falls in love with Athauf, Gothic noble who is later elected king. He falls in love with her and they marry. After his death, she returns to her brother and is forced to marry General Constantius, later emperor. She becomes involved in politics and is regent for her son, Valentinian, until his majority. Through her life, she is involved in politics. Fascinating novel about a ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I chose this novel through NetGalley as I know quite a bit about Galla - she was not an unfamiliar historical figure. Having said that, I was just not feeling it. Maybe it was due to my knowledge of the period and the people ...

I will say that this will make a good introductory novel on the period for someone just starting out - it is not overly bogged down with detail; the chapters are short and snappy; and the epilogue and author's note at the end will encourage the reader to discover further
Monica Hills
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this novel but the pacing was off. I love a novel about a strong woman especially one that is based on a real person. The problem I had with this novel was that the characters were not developed enough. Just when I started to enjoy the storyline it changed and I was reading about someone new. I never fully got to know the characters or care about them. I was really disappointed with this book. The foundation is here but it needs work.
3,5 stars

Sister to a Western Roman Emperor, Placidia is taken captive by the Goths when they attack Rome. During her captivity, she learned much about their way of life and falls in love with their king Ataulf. When Placidia is forced to return to Rome she has learned enough about strength and ruling to survive the Roman political life.

I don’t know anything about Roman history in this era so this was really fascinating. Rome changed a lot during Placidia’s life and it has a great effect on her l
Stephanie (Bookfever)
If there's a type of story I like more than anything it's books about little-known and strong women from history. As someone who's a self-proclaimed history geek I always jump on the chance to read books like this. That's why I loved Twilight Empress so much, along with several other reasons I will state below. It's also been a long time since I stayed up late to finish a book, which is what I did with this one. I just couldn't stop reading and had this intense need to know how it all would end. ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Twilight Empress is a pretty good read by Faith L Justice. This is not exactly my favorite time period to read in historical fiction but the author had a way of keeping my interest and want to keep reading. I really liked Placidia and wanted to see what else would happen to her next. She is one strong woman that endured so much and overcame.

I would give this book 4 ½ stars and recommend it to those who love historical fiction.

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
TWILIGHT EMPRESS by Faith L. Justice is exactly the type of book I mention when people ask me why I love Historical Fiction so much. Like the author, I’m a history junkie, so I appreciate her writing style and the research and time it takes to create a story set during an era long forgotten.

Placidia is a wonderful character. She’s not one accept her fate when things get tough, and sadly, that was a lot! She’s strong and loving and gracious. She’s not someone I’ve heard of before and I completely
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Find all my book reviews, plus author interviews, guest posts and book extracts, on my blog:

Twilight Empress is the first book in Faith L Justice’s Theodosian Women series. Future books will focus on Pulcheria, sister of Emperor Theodosius, and Athenais, his wife. On the strength of Twilight Empress, I shall certainly look out for the subsequent books.

Full disclosure – I was about a fifth of the way through Twilight Empress when I started to get the feel
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Twilight Empress tells the story of Galla Placidia, one of Rome’s last empresses. Galla Placidia is a Roman princess. One night the Goths invaded Rome through a form of betrayal on the Romans’ part. They kidnap Galla Placidia and hold her hostage in order to negotiate with Placidia’s brother, Emperor Honorius. Galla Placidia eventually falls in love with Ataulf, the king of the Visigoths, and marries him. When Ataulf is assassinated, Galla Placidia goes back to Rome and reluctantly marries Const ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Galla Placida is sister to one of the last Roman Emperors in 400 AD. As a young woman Placida is captured by the Goths. Growing up in their camps, she comes to respect their way of life and skills. Placida especially enjoys the company of Ataulf. She eventually marries Ataulf and becomes Queen of the Goths by his side, helping with decisions and in battle. Placida's brother, however, sees her marriage to Ataulf as a political move by the Goths and orders her home. Unfortunately, Ataulf is killed ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Galla Placidia is one of the most interesting women in the ancient world. Daughter of the emperor Theodosius, she was taken prisoner by the Goths when they sacked Rome and ended up married to the Gothic leader Ataulf. Then, after the Goths were defeated, her brother Honorius obliged her to marry the Roman general, and subsequent emperor, Constantius III. All this swapping sides must have required considerable cultural dexterity and fortitude. Yet until now she has been surprisingly neglected by ...more
Twilight Empress by Faith L. Justice
Book #1: The Theodosian Women Series
Source: NetGalley and Raggedy Moon Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

In my non-book reading, reviewing, and blogging life, I am a trained Art Historian who has been teaching Art History for nigh on twenty years. For most of these years, I have taught a wonderfully preserved and beautifully decorated site in Ravenna, Italy known as the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Though there is little remaining, historically speaking, about her life, w
Story Circle Book Reviews
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Faith Justice's Twilight Empress is historical fiction about Italian aristocracy between 410 and 461 A.D. It is well researched and written with twisted plot developments and great characters. The protagonist, a little-known Roman Empress and Gothic Queen Placidia suffers loss, love and betrayal. Palace intrigue is almost like a secondary character. Her innate intelligence and tenaciousness are a winning combination but at the cost of great personal sacrifice.

As her Roman palace is overrun by ba
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This rendering of the story of Galla Placidia exceeded my expectations, and it improved page after page. The beginning, with her being captured by the Visigoths, dragged me immediately in ancient Rome and hooked me up. Placidia immediately showed up as a heroine, a brave woman who is an empress not only for her social position and wealth but also because she is great inside. I'm Italian and at school w
Kitty Pollock
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book! Before reading this novel I knew very little about ancient Rome as this era in history has never really grabbed my attention before. The book follows the life of Galla Placidia Augusta, the half sister of the Western Roman Emperor Flavius Honorius Augustus, beginning with the first time Rome was sacked in 800 years when Placidia was a teenager. She is taken as a hostage by the Visigoths but later becomes their Queen after falling in love with the King. After her husband's m ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
3.5 stars. In "Twilight Empress," Rome, once seen as unshakeable, is falling. Placidia becomes Empress at a time where Rome's power is slowly leaking. Never fully wanting power, Placidia steps up to the plate to rule Rome and try to take it back to stable ground. It's a fascinating story of a powerful woman and one that I was not really familiar with before.

This book covers a lot of what Placidia does to rule the empire and how she tries to consolidate power once again through various political
Svetlana Tishchenko
"Augusta Placidia Galla the daughter and the mother to Roman Emperors. The wife, the Augusta, the woman. Twilight Empress is the story of not God-anointed deity but the story of warm-blooded human woman who can love, cry, scheme, suffer, scream and fight. Placidia in Justice's book is amazingly beautiful even though she was not a real beauty in her life. Placidia is through and through blue-blood royal from the way she carries herself to the way she cries when hurt and plots revenge. Unable to r ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read about Galla Placidia, sister of one of the last Roman Emperors and a key figure in the history of the time. I knew little about her, so was fascinated to learn more about her life and the political intrigues in the final days of the Empire. The book is well-researched and offers lots of interesting details about life in the era, but without being unnecessarily erudite or tedious.

The character of Placidia is well-drawn and very believable, the other characters perhaps slightly
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twilight Empress by Faith Justice is a mighty fine book as the author craftily draws the reader into the world of Placida who is the sister of one Rome's last emperors. Through the author's good writing I was able to gain. a view of what she must have lived through in order to survive. In the end Placida finds love among the Goths after she marries Goth leader Ataulf. Thanks to her book I plan. to read more about Placida, as if you believe some historical records, she is a distant relative; and ...more
Donna Pingry
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I see another series in my future! This was such an interesting book. I found myself wondering how anyone could go through all the heroine, Augusta Galla Placidia did. Then I googled her and found out she probably went through even more! I knew so little about this fascinating female who lived, loved and carved out a place in history for herself and her descendents.

The author certainly created wonderful personalities for her characters. It was so hard to put this book down. Well earned 5 stars!
Ginger Pollard
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is based on the Empress Placidia of the Theodosian Empire. It's one of those books about historical fiction that starts out so good and just gets better and better! I enjoyed it very much! She's a little known lady who lived in the fifth century but she had a huge impact for her time. A very interesting story that keeps the reader's attention! Well developed characters and very well written book! I look forward to reading more from this author.
I received an ARC of this book from Netga
Trick Wiley
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Roman history,Roman stories and this is so not disappointing! Full of love,fighting,hate,power,it's all in this gripping story of a woman who rules! The characters are real,they come to life for you through the history of Roman and invaders! Net Gallery let me read this well researched book! You won't be disappointed in this story! Loved the picture on the front of the book of the ruling Princess! Can you even trust your own family,what about your friends? ...more
Liliyana Shadowlyn
I have to admit, I'd never heard of Placidia before this book. I found her story interesting, and even though the book is based on a historical figure's life, it wasn't dry. I loved following her journey, and watching her change throughout the years of her life as her circumstances changed. A great read for those interested in a strong woman in ancient Rome. ...more
Sekhar N Banerjee
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good read

It was really a delightful and informative read. The standard history books do not say much about characters depicted in this book. This really improved my understanding of the situations in the waning days of the western empire.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am not really familiar with this period in history and have never heard of Galla Placidia up until now. The book was interesting and easy to read. She was certainly a remarkable woman! I can recommend this book, especially if you enjoy this period in history.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Fascinating glance at Roman history through the eyes of a strong female protagonist. I enjoyed the references to and incorporation of early Christianity.

(ARC provided by publisher via #NetGalley)
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twilight Empress is the story of an amazing woman no one has ever heard of (well, maybe not no one, but I had never heard of her). Set in 5th century Rome, it's the story of Galla Placidia, sister of Roman Emperor Honorius (I hadn't heard of him either), a woman who was captured by the Goths and married the brother of the Gothic king, captured upon his death and returned to her home of Ravenna, to be married off again to someone of her brother's choosing. In a time when women, particularly royal ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not realize how old this book was when I requested it. I found it to be a very easy read and really did not get too invested in the characters. While the entire book focused on Placidia she just didn't seem that well developed to me. Even in the end with her daughter there was such a disconnect about why Placidia acted as she did. The book was okay and informative but nothing special. ...more
Heather Bennett
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twilight Empress is a fascinating book and has a interesting storyline. It is written well and has good characters. I would read more by this author.
Tiffany Rose
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twilight Emperess is the story of the sister of one of the last Roman Emperors. This is an interesting and vivid tale. I enjoyed it as I haven't read many books set in this time. I found it a good read. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction.

I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie who writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in her historic Brooklyn home. She’s published in venues such as, Writer's Digest, Strange Horizons, The Copperfield Review and Circles in the Hair.

You can read her stories, interviews with famous authors, and sample chapters of her novels at her website . Check out her

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The Theodosian Women (2 books)
  • Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome

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