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Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
The Roman Phalera: The Vines of Bordessi, Book One by Robbi Perna is a blend of historical fiction and saucy romance. There is a whole lot of action and movement here as well which helped to charge up the scenes with excitement and tension. Carlo Cavaleri is devastated when his beloved twin brother is taken out of action by tragedy. Struggling to go on, he throws himself into work, but the Fates have more than that in mind for these twins...
Twins! I absolutely love twins, as I am one myself. I'm always fascinated by their portrayal in literature, particularly romantic literature. Is there an evil twin and a good dichotomy going on? Are they two sides of the same coin? Are they 100% identical in a creepy sort of paranormal way? While we don't get much action from Paolo before the unfortunate event strikes, it was really compelling and heart-wrenching to be in Carlo's shoes, seeing him deal with all his pain and reservations. Then when they are back fighting fit (in a strange and paranormal way...), we get to see how much Carlo appreciates Paolo and what it means to him to see his brother one last time.
Robbi Perna has a very solid writing style that helped to expose the characters in different ways. I felt as though I was allowed to get to know all of them on a more personal level, which let them endear themselves to me. The descriptions are great, and Perna has an eye for the details of sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that just let you sink into the story like a warm bath. There was romance here, but it was an undertone. The main focus really was sibling bonds and brotherly love and I think we can all get behind that.