Household Gods by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove

A San Francisco lawyer finds herself magically spirited back to ancient Rome, where she ends up running a tavern and weathering a German invasion.

I’m reading Household Gods for an online book club, and the only reason I didn’t quit this book is because I really like the people in the book club. I am not worried about hurting anyone’s feelings by admitting it, because I’m the one who chose it! It’s been languishing in my TBR stack since Christmas 2006 when my ancient Rome-loving dad gave it to me.

I really had trouble with the fact that Nicole accepted her fate so readily–especially since she was a mother. If I were in her shoes I’d be freaking out worrying about Superfast Baby. I wouldn’t be able to think about anything but getting back to her. Nicole barely thinks about them. It really kept me from connecting with her.

The writing isn’t that great, either. I was hoping for something magnificently trashy like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, but this didn’t even come close. However, I am looking forward to hearing what my book club has to say about it–should be a fun discussion.

6 thoughts on “Household Gods by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove”

  1. I had a similar reaction. Only I haven’t finished it yet, and it has been 18 months or better.

    I like the historical detail, but the motivations seem weak. And there didn’t seem to be anything up ahead worth the effort to keep reading. I got past the ‘the water isn’t safe to drink’ episode – and I am sorry. Too much of the story hung on her being ignorant of the risk of contaminated water, and unable to recognize what getting sick meant.

    If I recall rightly, the book was well reviewed at the time. But it struck me like ‘The Great Gatsby’, another case of ‘great literary achievement’ that wasn’t a story worth telling.

  2. Oooh. I can comment here since you are done! I completely agree with you. I just couldn’t connect with Nicole – she just wasn’t believable. I kept waiting for her to panic about being away from her children. It happened too little and too late. I just didn’t buy it. I enjoyed the historical facts, but that was about it.

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