Set in 47 AD, the story centers on a young Cornovii princess—Caerwin—who watches from the rocky battlements of her tribe’s hillfort as Rome’s legions approach. Devastation ensues as the Roman phalanx crushes Briton’s valiant warriors. Captured and held in Roman camp, she faces Legate Marcellus Antistius who makes it clear she will submit to his demands. In spite of her resistance, he forces her pleasure. She begs to die.Caught between his increasing infatuation with this Briton princess and the demands of his military command, Marcellus must come to terms with his past.A fiery novel of domination and submission, this historical romance follows Caerwin as she refuses to come to terms with her new reality: life as she knew it is over. Forever. In its place stands a man she can never love.
Caerwin and the Roman Dog is a unique and enjoyable tale. Ashworth is a great storyteller and I very much enjoyed her writing. I have always been fascinated by the Romans and jumped at the chance to read this story.
I love stories that include actual historical details and extensive research. It makes the story both more authentic and more enjoyable because the situations the characters face are believable, if not accurate for the time period. Combine the facts with bits of fiction and it usually makes for a fascinating story. I very much enjoyed the addition of Latin throughout the novel. Including that took the story to a new level. I did not look at the glossary until the end, so I was confused like Caerwin in the beginning and had to learn what the words meant through explanation or context. That helped me connect with her character. I loved the addition of the glossary of terms and author's note at the end.
Because the story deals with darker topics such as rape, slavery and war, and can be dark at times, I was surprised at how much I liked this story. Those hard topics are never glossed over. The story is gritty and raw and that is what made it so much different than any other book I have read. I enjoy the honesty of the story, even when the characters are faced with bad circumstances.
The relationship dynamics between the two main characters was very interesting to watch play out. Caerwin is feisty, yet submissive. You can't help but feel for her through all the hell she is put through. Marcellus is captivating. It's no wonder that Caerwin began to fall for him, even as his slave. I was not sure at how I would feel about him as a character at the beginning of the novel, but as he softened toward Caerwin, I softened toward him. I found the idea of a Roman officer slowly falling in love with his captive very romantic.
There are some erotic elements in the story. Though I am not normally a fan of that sort of thing, I think it worked well in this book. It helps to define their relationship through the story- first they are joined in lust, and then with love. The erotic elements are perfectly balanced with other aspects of the book. It is rich with history, battle scenes and a great deal of character development.
I am so glad there will be a second book, so I can spend more time with these characters and time period. After the cliff hanger at the end of this novel I am anxiously awaiting to see what happens between Caerwin and Marcellus after they are reunited. Though the romance only happened toward the end of the novel, I think their story has the potential of becoming a truly beautiful love story.