Book Review: I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

by KellyAnn Bonnell

Some of the first biographies I read as a youth were of Marie Antoinette and Florence Nightingale. However I really found my stride with historical fiction. It allowed me to slip into the world that these women lived in and although I know poetic license runs rampant, I feel like there’s a chance that perhaps I can glimpse the possible thoughts of the real people the books are based on. Some of my favorite historical fiction tell the tales of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria. I can honestly say, that I had no idea who Livia Drusilla was or the role she played in the Roman empire. That has changed and I can only say “thank you” to Phyllis Smith for the introduction.

I am Livia, will be released on May 1 and is a must for your summer reading list. We meet Livia in the winter of her life as she is drafting the tale of youth. We meet you young self just before the Ides of March as she overhears her father conspiring to kill Caesar. We follow her through her betrothal and marriage at 14 and fear with her as all she knows falls apart. Livia was significant to the history of Rome and she should be as well known as other great women in history.This is a great way to introduce students to ancient Rome without that dusty of the standard history lesson. It is definitely a must read.

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