Monday, September 22, 2014

My Review: Healer of Carthage

May I start by saying that this cover is lovely? I love the colors used in the background and it just catches the eye.  My one complaint about it, is that you'll find as you read the book, Lisbeth's hair is blond - not the brownish black of the cover model.
A twenty-first-century doctor. A third-century plague. A love out of time.

First-year resident Dr. Lisbeth Hastings is too busy to take her father’s bizarre summons seriously. But when a tragic mistake puts her career in jeopardy, answering her father’s call seems her only hope of redeeming the devastating failure that her life has become.

While exploring the haunting cave at her father’s archaeological dig, Lisbeth falls through a hidden hole, awakening to find herself the object of a slave auction and the ruins of Roman Carthage inexplicably restored to a thriving metropolis. Is it possible that she’s traveled back in time, and, if so, how can she find her way back home?

Cyprian Thascius believes God called him to rescue the mysterious woman from the slave trader’s cell. What he doesn’t understand is why saving the church of his newfound faith requires him to love a woman whose peculiar ways could get him killed. But who is he to question God?

As their different worlds collide, it sparks an intense attraction that unites Lisbeth and Cyprian in a battle against a deadly epidemic. Even as they confront persecution, uncover buried secrets, and ignite the beginnings of a medical revolution, Roman wrath threatens to separate them forever. Can they find their way to each other through all these obstacles? Or are the eighteen hundred years between them too far of a leap?

About the Author:
Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.
(Cover photo and description [italics mine] from Christian Book.  About the author copied from Amazon.  All rights reserved.)

My Review: 4 stars
Compelling start to a new series!Healer of Carthage is the first book in Lynne Gentry’s new The Carthage Chronicles series. It follows the story of Lisbeth Hastings and Cyprian Thascius. I’m not typically into time travel stories, but I’d heard great things about this one and decided to try it. I can happily say that it lived up to my expectations.
Ms. Gentry does a wonderful job with the details and descriptions. I was quickly draw into the story and had to often remind myself that I wasn’t actually in third century Rome with the characters. I loved the modern feel to it, the comparisons between what we currently have and what life was like in that time. It provided a great reminder to be grateful for the advances we have, but also brought a new dimension to the story. I really enjoyed seeing Rome through both Lisbeth’s modern outlook and Cyprian’s ancient view.
Lisbeth Hastings is the “heroine” in this story. I confess, I didn’t care for her at first. She is hard and closed off because of losing her mother at a young age, then struggling through med school and always feeling that she doesn’t measure up. When she loses a patient, it seems her world has fallen apart. She seeks redemption for her mistakes and acceptance for who she really is. She is a little annoying at first, as she tries to adapt to being back in time, but that is actually probably a pretty accurate reaction, so I can’t really complain. I did really enjoy watching her grow and come to care for the people she meets. She slowly begins to open up and let people in, and becomes more relatable. I also really liked her voice. She is a bit sarcastic and has a very blunt personality, along with a wry sense of humor. I often found myself laughing at one of her observations of ancient life.
Cyprian Thascius is the “hero” and he was everything I had expected, along with a few surprises to keep him from seeming stereotypical. He is strong, kind, but also a little ruthless at times. He’s willing to do almost anything to protect those he loves, even if it seems less than ethical. He is a Christian, which was interesting, especially considering that during this time period the church was heavily persecuted. He is a young Christian though, and doesn’t always act in a way that is exactly a shining example of Christ, but this is also a very real and accurate portrayal. I loved seeing Lisbeth through his eyes, as he sees a strength she doesn’t. He also sees the kindness she tries to hard to hide.
Their romance was interesting. It started out seeming a lot like an arrangement. There were few emotions involved, despite their attraction. Then as they got to know each other and learn their hearts, it slowly grew into something more. I enjoyed their sparring, as two very strong personalities clashed, but also the sweet moments that made me sigh. Their relationship isn’t as fully developed as I maybe would have liked, but it does have to continue to advance through the next two books.
My favorite things about this book? How it drew me in and engaged my emotions. The descriptions were so vivid that I would look up from the book, a little surprised that I wasn’t in Rome. Even though some of the emotions it evoked weren’t positive ones, such as the outrage I shared with Lisbeth during the chapter when they are at the Roman games, I still loved being so thoroughly draw in. There were a couple times when a scene would be so intense that I would have to lay the book down and take a break for a while. I found myself thinking about some of the parallels drawn in it and asking some of my own questions. I love books that stay with me long after I’ve read the last page. Lynne is definitely an excellent writer, in my opinion. There are few authors who can pull me into a story like she does.
I also loved the reality portrayed in this book. It isn’t all happily ever afters or sigh worthy endings. It is gut-wrenchingly honest about what life was like in ancient Rome: the upheaval, the political unrest, the corrupt officials, the religious persecution. All of it is woven through the story and I paints what I believe is a pretty accurate picture of what they faced in that time period. It’s obvious Lynne put a lot of time and research into making the story as true to the times as possible.
Lynne also does a great job with the villains. I sincerely hated them and they were sufficiently disturbing. I’d really hoped some horrible fate would befall them. Unfortunately, we don’t get to find that out until the next book, or she may draw it out until the final one. So, I have awhile to continue hating them.
While Cyprian is a Christian, there actually wasn’t as much spirituality as I had expected. I had hoped for more growth in Lisbeth’s faith, but I would have to assume that will come in later books. I had to keep reminding myself that this isn’t a standalone. It is written to tightly connect with the next one, so anything that seems left undone or unsaid, will probably be expounded on in one of the next books.
One thing I will say is that I was so mad when I finished this book - I wanted the next one! I didn’t want to have to wait until Return to Exile releases in January 2015. We’re left with a huge cliffhanger and many questions, the biggest one being “What’s going to happen next?!” I will give you this warning, if you’re looking for a feel-good, happily ever after story, then this isn’t the book for you. It will take you through the wringer emotionally and leave you with a lot to think about.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance and suspense that draws you in from the start and doesn’t let you go until long after you’ve read the last page.

I think this is my longest review to date, because a couple places I tried to post it made me shorten it.  So, I apologize if this is too long or rambling for your tastes.  I just loved it so much and didn't want to shut up!  LOL  Y'all are going to have to start keeping me in line, I think!  :)
I hope you enjoyed my review anyway, despite the length.  In case you're interested in checking out the book some more, or perhaps purchasing a copy, here are a few links to get you started.


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book 

Thanks for coming by!  I hope you have a lovely day!


  1. I loved this one too! Great debut and can't wait for book two to release this winter! :D Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I usually skip time travel books. But after ready your review I am very interested in reading this series.

  3. Really enjoyed your review and this sounds like a good one. It's a little different from what I usually read but really sounds good. I just got it on my Kindle and looking forward to reading it.