Pilate's Wife: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Antoinette May

Book Review by LandrieB

The story of Pilate’s wife begins with a girl, Claudia, born into a family of privilege during the reign of the Roman Empire. Claudia’s father and uncle are prominent leaders in the roman army. As a young girl her family is stationed in Monokos but her father and uncle travel often for battle. Claudia’s family spends a lot of time with her Aunt Agrippina and her children since both fathers were often away at battle. When she is young Claudia often dreams of things that come to pass and this “gift” becomes both a blessing and a curse at various times during her life.

Prodded by her family, Claudia makes a prediction at the circus in Rome, which was more like a gladiator battle than what we think of a circus in modern day. She selects an unknown fighter as the winner for that day and several high ranking politicians as well as family members bet on her predicted victor. Although unlikely, the young man she selects does end up the sole survivor of the contest. Claudia is treated like a heroine and her visions become well known amongst those close to her family.

As a young woman a banquet is thrown in Claudia’s honor in hopes that she will finally select a husband. Although many suitors come she is intrigued by the one man who she warned is off limits. Not one to take no for an answer, Claudia is intent on winning the heart of the very ambitious, young magistrate named Pontius Pilate. To ensure her success, Claudia visits the temple of Isis and requests a love potion. Although warned of its dangers Claudia is pleased with the results when Pilate asks for her hand in marriage.

The cast of characters in the book both enrich and torment the lives of Claudia and Pilate. The storyline takes many twists and turns providing action and adventure along the way, making this book a page turner. Although a work of fiction, much of the rich history of the Roman Empire during the time of Christ, as well as the beautiful architecture and scenery draw the reader into ancient Roman times.

As newlyweds Pilate and Claudia seem to be a great match with much passion. However, during their marriage they will endure infidelity, loss of a child, the death of many family members, as well as multiple long distance relocations in order for Pilate to advance his career. During these struggles both Pilate and Claudia suffer the consequences of their personal choices and learn to overcome the many challenges they face.

Along the journey that unfolds while reading Pilate’s wife, the reader is given a glimpse of the hardships and courage it took to endure the often harsh ways of unreasonable leadership, selfish politicians, unforgivable brutality, and corrupt governments. However, the friendships, relationships, and lessons that Claudia learns on her often bumpy path allow her to become a strong woman of influence who is able to overcome her losses and find peace with the outcome she was destined for from the beginning.

Pilate's Wife: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Antoinette May is a captivating, easy to follow, tale that was a pleasure to read from start to finish. I enjoy a good historical fiction book and this one was a real winner in my opinion.

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