Genre: Historical Suspense
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words
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Suzanne Tyrpak resides in Colorado and works for an airline. This has given her the ability to visit Rome and Italy and see first hand the scenes and countryside she uses for the backdrop in this book. She has some writing experience with Dating My Vibrator, a collection of short stories. Ghost Plane is a short story available on her blog and will be epublished in September of this year in another short story collection, Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales. For more information, visit the author's blog or Facebook page.
Education, privilege, and reverence come at the price of 30 years of celibacy and service for Vestal Virgins in Ancient Rome. Suzanne Tyrpak's debut novel Vestal Virgin takes us through the emotional conflicts of Elissa Rubria Honoria as she faces forbidden love, family tragedy, treachery, and betrayal. While traversing the daily tasks and obligations of a young woman in this challenging position she begins to question her faith in the very Gods she is bound to honor.
By using fewer characters and delving deeper into their psyches, Ms. Tyrpak easily drew me into the drama and challenges of life in a different time and place. Nero's greed and psychosis were the perfect opposition to Elissa's virtue and hope for a happier life. She also perfectly captured the teen angst of Flavia, as she struggles in that ackward phase, poised on the brink of adulthood but not yet allowed to make her own decisions. Writing through the eyes of each major character gave the author the ability to slowly, but dramatically, increase the tension of the story as she moved the plot along by introducing related themes that gave the book a robust feel. This story had it all! It was obviously well researched. I found the timelines, architecture and historic details all in keeping with what we know about ancient Rome.
The only negative I have is that Tyrpak leaves the reader hanging just a little by not completely resolving the progression of the subplots surrounding the other female leads. If she is planning to write a sequel or offshoot with one of these characters, it is a perfect set up though. Also, due to the nature of the main character, the specific time in history, and the setting, there are many religious references. It was a positive aspect of the story in my opinion.
There is quite a bit of sexuality in this book. It's more suggestive than explicit. I would not recommend this book to anyone under 17 for that reason.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars