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A.D. 62: Pompeii    by Rebecca East order for
A.D. 62: Pompeii
by Rebecca East
Order:  USA  Can
iUniverse, 2003 (2003)
*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I have always enjoyed history, whether in a textbook or in the softer guise of a novel. A.D. 62: Pompeii is a bit of both. The ancient history of the years prior to the eruption of Vesuvius is fascinating. The author's take on what life must have been like reveals a vast knowledge and a love of the subject. I couldn't quite place myself, though, in the houses or streets of Pompeii.

The author's method of installing a modern woman in the past is a trifle lacking in what could be an interesting part of the story. The characters, while working well, didn't seem alive to me; I didn't feel as though I knew them. I questioned at times if this was a young adult novel. It has the hesitancy found in many first novels, and also the tendency to give more information that necessary in a scene or dialogue.

The story line is a good one. Miranda agrees to be part of an experiment to go back in time, with the promise of a return. She becomes a slave in a wealthy man's house in Pompeii, and realizes the low esteem in which women were held in that period of history. Miranda's trials and tribulations are what one might expect, but are interesting in the telling. Her machinations to survive, after her return to the modern world fizzles out, prove the resiliency with which we humans are imbued.

I have been to Pompeii and applaud anyone's effort to bring that time back with words, but feel that another rewrite would have fine-tuned a potentially good read.

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