I adored the Roman Mysteries series when I was a kid, and so when I spotted From Ostia to Alexandria by Caroline Lawrence in a charity shop I knew I had to buy it and read it straight away!
This is a non-fiction account, albeit simplified, of Lawrence’s time travelling around Europe and North Africa to gather firsthand experience and information about the areas she wanted to set her books in.
Lawrence is a historian, so her books are incredibly accurate, and I really enjoyed seeing how she was inspired to do further research after seeing historical sites and learning about the culture from those who live there.
I really didn’t like how Lawrence kept calling lower class people “peasants”. She was using this to refer to modern day men and women and it felt very elitist and classist. This book was originally published in 2008 so I wouldn’t want to simply assume Lawrence has the same views in the current day, but it is something to be aware of going in.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Credibility/Research: 7, Authenticity/Uniqueness: 6, Writing/Readability: 8, Personal Impact: 4, Intrigue: 4, Logic/Informativeness: 4, Enjoyment: 5, which gives a score of 5.43 and a 3* rating.
I really enjoyed seeing places that I’d been and Lawrence’s own explorations in here, as well as learning more about different locations. I would love to use this as a little travel guide myself!
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