Household Gods

Household Gods

Book - 1999
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Nicole Gunther-Perrin is a modern young professional, proud of her legal skills but weary of the daily grind, of childcare, and of sexist coworkers and her deadbeat ex-husband. Then after one exceptionally awful day, she awakens to find herself in a different life, that of a widowed tavernkeeper on the Roman frontier around A.D. 170.

Delighted at first, she quickly begins to realize that her new world is as complicated as her old one. Violence, dirt, adn pain are everywhere; slavery is commonplace, gladiators kill for sport, and drunkenness is taken for granted. Yet, somehow, people manage to face life everyday with humor and goodwill.

No quitter, Nicole manages to adapt, despite endless worry about the fate of her children "back" in the twentieth century. Then plague sweeps through Carnuntum, followed by brutal war. Amidst pain and loss on a level she had never imagined, Nicole must find reserved of the sort of strength she had never known.
Publisher: New York : Tor : <Distributed in the United States by St. Martins Press>, 1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780812564662
Branch Call Number: SF
Characteristics: 508 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Turtledove, Harry


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Apr 19, 2017

The authors have plainly done their research, and their picture of late Roman civilization is quite good. And they are decent writers. The text flows well and the descriptions are clear and vivid.

Unfortunately the main character, Nicole, is an obnoxious twit, "merely a vehicle for the authors to satirize contemporary attitudes" as the School LIbrary Journal says above. And unlike the Journal, I don't see that she improves in any way; certainly she doesn't deepen. Everything that happens to her in the past is presented with a smug righteousness on the authors' part: she deserved this, she'll only get a clue if hit over the head with it! And maybe the authors think she's a better person at the end, but for me, she ends as paper-thin as she began, still a caricature.

For a very much more eloquent version of this comment, see Jo Walton's review on, "I'd love this book if I didn't loathe the protagonist".

Dec 21, 2011

A great read about a modern, divorced, non-drinking working woman (mother of two) who is angry with her Ex and his bimbo. She goes to bed and awakes to find herself in ancient times, in the body of a widowed tavern keeper /mother of two and the owner of a female slave. Fascinating watching her adapt to life in the past.. and of course there is an interesting ending... It makes one re-examine our preconceived notions.


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