Review: Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii

curses and smokeAuthor: Vickey Alvear Shecter

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

We received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

A book about Pompeii? Yes! This was a first for me and I was super excited to be approved on Netgalley for Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii.

I enjoyed this book and rushed through it in two days. There were some twists I didn’t see coming, even up to the very end of the novel, which, yes, ends up with the volcano erupting. (Not a spoiler… obviously.) The entire time I was wondering, hoping that Lucia and Tag would be able to escape the city before the eruption. I was kept on my toes until the end and still thrown for a loop in the last few pages.

I truly appreciate the research that went into this book. Shecter not only visited Pompeii, but also consulted experts about the time period, staying as true as possible to the cultures and practices of that day. At the end, she includes some of the research behind the book, and I found myself googling Pompeii graffiti for a while. It’s actually quite fascinating and humorous.

Overall, Curses and Smoke was a cute love story and had an unexpected ending despite already knowing the fate of the city of Pompeii. 3 ½ stars.

Content Advisory:
Language: 3
Less than 10 uses of d, h, and a
Sexual: 3
some kissing; talk about being a virgin
Violence: 3
Gladiators have swords, and her dad owns a gladiator school. Hence, some violence.
some mentions of “exposure,” which was leaving an unwanted newborn outside the city walls to die


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