The Rome Affair by Laura Caldwell

The Rome Affair, Laura Caldwell, 2006

My favorite quote: “I understand now that innocence is relative.”

Notable characters: Rachel Blakely, a software salesperson; Nick, her husband, the surgeon; Kit, her BFF

Most memorable scene: For me, it was the description of the Roman mornings. Let it never be said that Laura Caldwell doesn’t have a way with words. The Rome Affair is the only book that ever made me want to visit Rome (I know a lot of people do, but I’d rather see Greece or Ireland … but I digress)

Greatest strengths: The Rome Affair has a great plot structure that never falters. It has all the right surprises at all the right times … which brings us to … 

Standout achievements: It surprises. I didn’t see them coming. Laura Caldwell kept me on my toes and I like that. The Rome Affair is twisty, turny, and loads of fun (if your idea of fun is the torment and suffering of other people which, of course, we know it is)

Fun Facts: Research for The Rome Affair led Laura Caldwell, a former civil trial attorney, to a case that became the basis for her first nonfiction book, Long Way Home: A Young Man Lost in the System and the Two Women Who Found Him

Other media: N/A — but I bet if there were a movie, those Roman mornings would pale in comparison to their beauty in the book

What it taught me: If there’s a writing lesson to be found in The Rome Affair, it’s the age-old “show, don’t tell.” Some of the most pivotal events in this story take place “off-stage” and are only experienced through flashback and dialogue, which really weakened the effect for me (I like to get up close and personal with all the tragedy, anguish, and terror, but that’s just me)

How it inspired me: At the time I read this book, I was seriously contemplating a writing career myself, so I was paying close attention to the structure and ingredients of the things I read — and while I liked the plot of The Rome Affair, I couldn’t get into the characters at all. For some, it’s all about plot, and for others, the characters. For me, it needs both, but it’s the characters that carry any story, good or bad. So it was then I decided that in my own books, compelling characters would be a top priority — even if that meant some of them had to be truly vile (those are my favorite)

Additional thoughts: The Rome Affair is one of the books that comes to my mind when people talk about “vacation reads.” I’m not sure why. I guess because it’s good — but not so unputdownable that if you were hanging out at the beach and your five-year-old was getting eaten by a shark or something you wouldn’t notice

Hit or miss: A hit in some ways, a miss in others

Haunt me:

Read The Rome Affair by Laura Caldwell

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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