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Book Review: I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

Posted by smittenkittenorig on

I Am Livia
I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a huge fan of all things Claudian and Julian & devoured Robert Graves' "I, Claudius" & "Claudius the God" so I'm likely deeply predisposed to have liked this a lot. And I did. It was wonderful to get a self-perspective take on the legendary Livia and see that woman before she became that legend. I quite liked her & her voice here was clear. She felt real and though this account differs from many things said of her throughout the ages, that was accounted for and I was perfectly willing to believe it just as easily. I very much enjoyed following her life with Octavianus "Tavius" to be, Augustus and their passionate love and its inevitable cooling off was very realistic. I credit the unfolding of the story that it kept me a bit on edge about the possible dissolution of their union as I knew they remained married until Augustus died an old man. I was so invested that even with the knowledge, I was worried that they would never resolve their differences and remain estranged. It certainly kept me turning the pages like there was no tomorrow. I even enjoyed the mentions Claudius received and loved hearing that Drusus' death was one she never got over (he seemed such a nice little boy and things I've read of him as an adult have always been highly favorable and I've always liked him a bit more than Tiberius). I enjoyed this very much and admit that I was a bit sad when it was over. I'd have liked to spend more time with Livia listening to her recount the life she's lived. Fascinating woman. Endlessly. I would recommend this to fans of the time in history or fans of reading about the Claudians and Julians. It's easily read over a weekend. I look forward to reading more from the author.

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