Shannon here: Lynne Gentry shares an imaginative tour of the setting for her new historical fiction, The Healer of Carthage. Comment on this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: March 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lynne:
Romance on the Mediterranean
For years I’ve dreamed of taking a Mediterranean cruise. So far, I’ve only made the trip in my mind. I hope you’ll come with me and experience the romance of a long forgotten world.
I’m standing on a ship’s balcony staring across the azure blue water, my husband’s arm around my waist, as our vessel ports in Carthage. This donut-shaped harbor on the northern coast of Africa is one of the most fought over trading posts in Roman history.
What was life like for the seafaring people who lived in these ancient ruins? Did they love and laugh? Did they cry when their hearts were broken? Or were they hardened and ruthless, determined to control the lion’s share of the sea trade at any cost? Even if the cost included the loss of those they loved the most?
The salty breeze ruffles my hair as my husband and I disembarked, anxious for an adventure. A quick taxi ride delivers us to a stately museum near the crumbling remains of Old Carthage. I tip the driver and step into another time, a world filled with grace and beauty. But that was before the political erosion of the third century.
In the distance, the two remaining stone columns of the Antonine Baths jut into the sky. Their towering height is another reminder of the grandeur that once possessed this place. Gulls circle overhead. These guardians of all that remains here swoop and squawk a warning. Upon further investigation, I see that the marred stones and a deserted warship harbor reveal the true dangers lurking beneath the surface of this once perfect society. The danger of becoming so self-possessed that nothing else matters sends a shiver up my spine. I’m suddenly cold although the day is hot and the air terribly sticky.
In need of reassurance, I take my husband’s hand. We head toward the ruins of the communal baths. Luxurious touches of mosaic tile and sculpted friezes take me back to the days when a couple of bronze coins granted a wealthy patron entrance. What stories did the patrician women whisper as their slaves pampered them with fine oils and complicated beauty treatments? Did they complain of the endless stream of suitors not fit to court their daughters? Did they dread another trip to their husband’s sky box at the Coliseum? Did they fear what would happen if the sickness in the slums somehow knocked on their door?
My husband offers me a cup of coffee and I’m suddenly brought back to the present. “You need to take a break from your research.” His kiss reminds me of the power of selfless love and its ability to change even the hardest of hearts.
“Do you think all third century Romans were evil?” I ask.
He ponders the question for a moment. “Evil lurks in the heart of every man. Without Christ, we’re all goners.” He pats my cheek. “Don’t work too late.”
He closes the door to my office. In the quiet, I allow my mind to return to the crystal waters of a far away sea. When I reach Carthage, I stop and search for the answers I suspect are buried among the limestone ruins.
About Lynne: Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. Her newest novel, Healer of Carthage, is the first in The Carthage Chronicles series. She is a professional acting coach, theatre director, and playwright with several full-length musicals and children’s theater curriculums to her credit. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer whose first love is spending time with family. Learn more and connect – Author video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imh1AwR698Y, Website: http://lynnegentry.com/, Facebook: Author Lynne Gentry https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Lynne-Gentry/215337565176144, Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lynne_Gentry, Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lynnegentry7/, Simon & Schuster: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Lynne-Gentry/412732530
About the book – The Healer of Carthage: Healer of Carthage is the compelling adventure of a disgraced twenty-first century doctor who discovers healing in the middle of a third century Roman plague. Romance, courage, and justice will have readers rooting for Dr. Lisbeth Hastings as she is forced to choose between saving the past or returning to the future.
Just when this young doctor learns to trust her medical expertise again, she’s forced to choose between saving the past and returning to the future.
Lynne Gentry writes stories that launch modern women into ancient adventures.
Come back March 7th for Valerie Comer!