The best way to describe ENSLAVED is that it's like if you wrote a historical romance novel following the template of a play. This part of the book is probably my favorite because I thought it was hilarious how Diana managed to find ways to spite her horrible relatives, and her relationship with Peter and his (uncle??), Mark Hardwick, were interesting. He isn't pleased when she doesn't want to sleep with him, so he sets her to floor-scrubbing, and Diana hates menial labor so much that she ends up giving in and then the sexings start in earnest, with horrible phrases like "manroot" and "love slick" and "dark honeyed cave" and "creamy with craving" along with countless uses of "marble-hard" and allusions to peens as swords, with cringe-worthy double-entendres like "I shall bloody you, but not with my whip" to refer to taking someone's virginity and referring to sex as "swordplay." This part of the book takes place in Nero's Rome, and obviously Nero is the bad guy and obviously since he is the bad guy, he is bisexual but prefers the company of men (as villains of romance novels of this time period often do). The hero's brother, Petrius (like Peter - get it), is also bisexual, and he and Nero end up getting it on later in a weird D&S-style relationship while plotting to ruin the relationship of Diana and Marcus. Diana ends up under the care of Mark, who is Marcus's descendant, and who she now loves thanks to her stint in Rome. Peter tries to kill Diana and Mark and ends up getting thrown from the roof. The three-act formula didn't work because part I feels like the opening to a different book from part II and part III weakly attempts to tie parts I and II together by bringing up past lives and hinging on odd coincidences. I know the way bisexuality is handled in this book is also bound to upset people, but I'm afraid that was par for the course in many vintage historical romance novels. Many villains of vintage historical roms were either bisexual, gay, or homoerotic (i.e. they only wanted to have anal sex and/or had a weird, UST-turned-to-rage style obsession with the hero). What ends up happening, though, is that you get bland romance with alpha d-bag heroes who stop just short of rape with total, over-the-top cray-cray villains who are probably rejected "heroes" who escaped the archives of unpublished bodice rippers that never made it past the 80s and dead-pissed about it.
I love that it was in a Roman/Greek time travel, why, because the slave concept made the story more appealing for that time period of Ancient Rome as they were very sexual beings and the garments were sometimes revealing. Unbeknownst to Diana, she has time travel back to Aquae Sulis and is now a prisoner and slave of the general where he believes her to be a spy. This is a historical time travel and I haven't read much Ancient Rome time era and would love to see present romance and or erotica books for a change with this location.
I recognised the writing for its questionable quality (especially some of the descriptive phrases during the sex scenes), I can now see how horrible the way bisexuality was treated was (although as a teenager I thought Petrius was a homosexual who forced himself to pretend attractions towards women for the sake of his brother's image) and I think this being my first ever M/M sex scene may have coloured my impression of how gay people behave for years afterward.
She and Marcus are betrayed in the past...and when she comes back to her real time....she is being cared for by none other than MM's many times great grandson. When she tells him of her incredible story, he doesn't believe her, but she changes his mind.....but then they are betrayed by her relatives.
Diana was transported back in her own time, from where she has been missing for about 9 months, her aunt and uncle have declared her dead and embezzled all her money. All the characters in this book are the same through time, except for the aunt and uncle, they were the modern day villains.
E c'è un certo sgomento nel riuscire ad accettare che lady Diana riesca a barattare la propria salvezza con una verginità molto ottocentesca (e forse poco romana, anche perchè comunque la nostra bellissima doveva apparire un pelino "vecchiotta" per i tempi passati). Poi si fa un ulteriore salto nella Roma di Nerone e qui ho davvero apprezzato il realismo della Henley, che non concede spazio per divagazioni romantiche e descrive invece una società corrotta, avida di giochi crudeli, di supplizi e massacri di schiavi.
A very different take than any time travel book Ive read.
Back then, legal age for a male was twenty one and for a female it was twenty five. In kind of like Wizard of Oz introduction, things happen to introduce people (like the hero, his brother, an abbess) who will become part of people she meets in her trip back in time. The story is told in an omnipotent voice, head hopping quite a bit, which I found distracting. I can't say there was anything particularly compelling about the seventeen year old heroine or the thirty something hero.
Virginia Henley is a New York Times bestselling writer of historical novels.