Pompeii Fire

Sharon E.

HISTORICAL: Drusilla and Suetonius locked eyes as youngsters in a Roman marketplace. She was headed to being pawned off on a family friend while her father went to start a tavern in hopes of wealth. He was on his way to be trained as a gladiator after being sold into slavery. They would later meet again in Pompeii and fall in love. Stephanie and Damiano locked eyes during a tourist excursion where she was visiting, and he impersonates a gladiator for a charity for stray dogs. They would meet again when Dom spots Stephanie eating in his cousin's ristorante. He buys her dinner and the two become inseparable during her two week stay as a travel writer. One couple deals with tradition and jealous machinations as their world literally comes to an end, while the other couple deals with a long distance relationship in a post-pandemic world.

"Pompeii Fire" is a love story novella about the fierce passion of soulmates that traverses tragedy, time, and distance. Readers who enjoy a little poetical license mixed with historical data will turn the pages with glee. However some readers may find it hard to stumble through the historical references and foreign languages throughout the story, even though there is a glossary provided. The ancient story is the most prominent tale, filled with hints of gladiator action, historical accounts of Italian slavery, and a treacherous, greedy villain easy to hate. The contemporary story is very romantic, a little steamy, yet a tad predictable, even with the sporadic mentions of COVID-19 and its aftermath. Ms. Cathcart manages to wrap two small love stories with a historical twist – and a faithful dog, too.

Tonya Mathenia