I first picked up Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy almost two weeks ago. The book is only 336 pages, but it took me until this morning to finish the book - not because I didn't like the book or because it was boring but because it was so chock full of information and emotion and pain that I could read it in only small doses. That's very unusual for me, as I generally devour books.
Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore follows the life from Theodora - who was an actual historical figure - from the time she is a small girl the the daughter of the chief animal trainer in ancient Constantinople through her training for the theater to adulthood as a celebrated entertainer then governor's mistress and finally reformed woman who marries the eventual emperor. The theater life is far more brutal and raw than anything I would have expected, but still nothing that should have shocked me. The rules and laws in place at the time were harsh and rigid, and both child labor and child prostitution were common.
When I began reading the book, I knew it was a novel. As I continued to read, I realized how much of it was based in truth. Theodora was a historical figure, though obviously her story was somewhat fictionalized for this book considering how little was truly known of her real story. The book shows so much of what could have happened and shares so much of life in the ancient Empire. I learned a ton from the book, as challenging as it was for me to read.
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In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of "Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore" for review purposes only. I was compensated for participating in the BlogHer Book Club, but as always, my opinions are my own.
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