Sub Rosa: A Valerius Mystery by Jennifer Burke

In Nero's Ancient Rome, Valerius wakes after a party to murder and is tasked with solving it. Sheena read Sub Rosa.

From the blurb:

Rome, 58 AD.

The dinner party didn’t turn out the way Aemilius Valerius expected. He didn’t expect a place at the
main table. He didn’t expect to drink that much. He didn’t expect to hook up with one of the scarier dancers. And he most certainly didn’t expect to trip over the bloody corpse of his host on the floor of the informal dining room.

One man’s grisly murder is another man’s opportunity. Valerius teams up with the investigator, a plebeian with a chip on his shoulder, to discover the killer. Mad Uncle Maro promised it would be a smart career move, but that was before a second senator turned up dead. Now everything points towards a corrupt legion, an imperial assassin, and the emperor’s mother. It might have been smarter to accept that honorary priesthood, stupid hat or not.

Sheena's Review:

I am a sucker for any sort of story set in history. Doesn't matter the time period, but I have a fascination for ancient Rome and this is set during Nero's time as Emperor of that great empire. I got so immersed in the city and its people with this story, it really felt like I was walking the street with Valerius and Atreus. I loved Valerius, a young man trying to find his place after coming home from the army and with a house full of strong women - a wife, sister and stepdaughter who really rule that roost even though Valerius is nominally the head of the household.  

I loved Valerius' family, particularly his wife, who is pragmatic above all else and it's not just a marriage in name for them. I think there's real respect and love there even though they don't sleep together; I think she knows full well where Valerius' heart and desires truly lie. The story was fantastic too, a crime story with far-reaching implications for both MCs, and I loved the very slow burn of their relationship. No doubt in future stories this will develop and I'm here for that. I loved both men and can't wait for more in this universe. There's a great cast of supporting characters too, from Valerius' eccentric family to the senate and the wider world of Nero's Rome.

Loved it and can't wait for more.

Rating: 5 Stars

Sub Rosa is available to buy in ebook format.