I gave it 4 stars ~ A fun and sexy read!
This was a new genre for me, but I heard the author do a short reading at our local library and I just had to get the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved the author's description of ancient Rome and its people. I had no problem imagining what life was like in that time -- and how difficult it was to survive, let alone be happy.
The Gladiator's Mistress has plenty of action, with battles in the arena. Loads of tension, with Phaedra and Valens fighting their forbidden attraction. And steamy romance. I want a Valens of my own! I thought all the characters were well developed, likable and perfectly flawed. I even found myself sympathetic to the antagonists because the rules and their reasons were always clear.
I was happy to hear Ms. Bokal has a second book in the series coming soon. I will be snatching that one up as well!