Reviewed by Bethany Kelly
Which is more important: love or duty? This is a question that Arria Felix, the daughter of a Roman senator, has to answer in On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller. When war breaks out between Attila and Rome, many lives are changed. The novel opens with Arria holding her husband as he dies on the battlefield.
Fast forward a few months and Arria is enlisted to become a Roman envoy, and to convince the Franks to side with their cause and fight against Attila. On top of this, Arria finds herself betrothed to the tribune Drusus, a harsh man in lust with his Egyptian slave Marcella, for political reasons. Little does he know that Marcella harbors a deep hatred for Arria for reasons unknown.
When Garic, a barbarian noble, enters the picture, Arria finds herself falling in love. This forbidden love almost gets Garic killed when Drusus orders his death. However, fate has a different idea in mind, and Garic is sold into slavery instead; Arria vows to do everything in her power to rescue him. Love, lust, bravery, and betrayal all play a part in this enchanting love story. Will Arria do her duty and marry Drusus? Or will she risk it all to marry for love?
From the moment I started reading this book, I was intrigued. I always love reading novels with strong heroines, and this book didn’t disappoint. Arria is strong-minded and strong-willed. She is a diverse character with skills in both diplomacy and politics, and isn’t afraid to use them to the benefit of not only herself, but her country, as well. Although she is a strong character, we still see her struggle with her emotions. This is what made her great. She seemed like a real person, and not just a character out of a novel.
I also really enjoyed Miller’s writing style. She told the story from the perspective of many of the characters, and this kept things interesting. Miller allowed me to see things from the point of view of other characters–characters that provided information that Arria alone wouldn’t be privy to.
I could also tell that Miller spent a lot of time researching the time period and people of the era for this novel. She included a brief explanation of the people and places at the end of the novel and stated, “I’ve endeavored to represent the events, places, and beliefs as closely to the historical record as possibly, but I’ve also added my own interpretation to the lives of all the characters real and imagined.” I was very impressed with this, and it spurred me to do some research on my own. I love reading novels that make me think!
Although I felt that there were a few scenes that could’ve been omitted from the novel (they wouldn’t have been missed), I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in historical romance. I am also interested in reading more books in the Long-Hair Saga.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.
Review copy was provided by Knox Robinson Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.