The Beacon at Alexandria - Gillian Bradshaw Really wonderfully done. The last line in the epilogue literally left me with chills: "the Fall of Rome was, for the west anyway, 'the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind."' Coming on the heels of this story, it was really excellently done. I mourned the empire's demise with the characters. I felt powerfully for many of the characters throughout the story. Particularly in the second half of the book, I was literally heartbroken for Charis at the idea of how unfair it was that she could not be both woman and doctor. Every injustice thrown at her had my hand itching to smack the person who was telling her no.

On top of the good story, it is clear that this author knows this period. This book is chock full of history and I can honestly saw that I learned a lot about the 4th century Roman Empire. In Alexandria she shows you about the struggle between sects of Christianity and Judaism and in Thrace she demonstrates how relations developed between Rome and the Visigoths. It was all fascinating and educational. Some of the information did bog down the story once or twice, but nothing too bad. Overall, really excellently done.

"Love is certainly a great god, to make two intelligent people look so foolish."