Near the end of Jessie Sutherland’s historical romance novel, The Senators (sic) Daughter +/- 320 AD, the tension is palpable. Lovely Cyriaca, the niece of Emperor Constantine, has been kidnapped, separated from her husband Joshua, and sold into slavery. As Germanic tribes ravage villages, Joshua searches frantically for his pregnant wife. He is fearless, a former gladiator, and he’s driven by his love for Cyriaca, a modern Roman woman known to charm animals and heal the sick.
But the tension in Sutherland’s novel is more often caused by a confusing jumble of partial sentences, puzzling punctuation, and obviously wrong word choices than it is by an intriguing storyline. Sutherland does have a knack for telling a story, even one as well-worn as this one, a classic tale of forbidden romance, seduction and culture clash. But the book’s lack of editing overshadows the fun.
For example, as Cyriaca’s father agonizes over his missing daughter, Sutherland writes, “’Is my temper so bad that no one can stay in my presents?’ he thought of his sons at home.” When the party seeking Cyriaca camps one evening, Sutherland writes, “The camp set up and fires started for cooking and warming, the women walked into the woods to collect mushrooms, the squeal of a dying boar indicated a healthy meal was about to be prepared.” Even the title is incorrect, with Senators spelled without the necessary possessive apostrophe.
Fans of historical romance might be able to make their way through The Senators Daughter. But most readers would be better served looking elsewhere.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.