I’m convinced that in a former life that most librarians were carnival barkers. We’re book pushers and summertime is our time to shine baby! Here in the US, with children free from the confines of school, libraries embark on their annual summer reading programs–filled with programs, reading challenges and incentives galore. Over time libraries have expanded this program to include teens and adults. Summer reading selections for adults can include everything from trashy celebrity tell-alls to big, fat tomes with literary pedigree. But what if your summer read of choice is historical romance? Have no fear! Because there is a beach-bag bonanza of unusual historical options to entice and intrigue as you lounge by the pool.
The Gladiator’s Mistress by Jennifer D. Bokal
Phaedra, a dutiful daughter of Rome’s most influential senator, has no choice but to marry a man chosen by her father. But a chance encounter with handsome gladiator Valens Secundus sends her pulse racing—and, for the first time, makes her wish she could choose her own fate. They make each other a promise: she’ll insist on having the right to select her next husband, and he’ll do everything within his power to win his freedom.
A gladiatorial champion, Valens has fought his way up from poverty to become a star in the arena. The only two things he craves are his freedom and the luscious Phaedra, both seemingly far out of reach. But four years after their fateful meeting, Phaedra returns to Rome and soon becomes a widow, and Valens answers to no one but himself. They’re finally free to explore their fiery passion—while evading a powerful and wealthy new suitor of Phaedra’s—until Valens must return to the arena one last time. And in order for Phaedra to control her own destiny and claim her love, Valens will need to survive the battle of his life.
Bokal has published a few other titles, but this marks her debut with a big publisher (Amazon Montlake) and also the start of a new series, Champions of Rome.