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Publisher's Summary

Her life would be marked by scandal and suspicion, worship and adoration.…

At the tender age of 14, Livia Drusilla overhears her father and fellow aristocrats plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Proving herself an astute confidante, she becomes her father’s chief political asset - and reluctantly enters into an advantageous marriage to a prominent military officer. Her mother tells her, "It is possible for a woman to influence public affairs," reminding Livia that - while she possesses a keen sense for the machinations of the Roman senate - she must also remain patient and practical.

But patience and practicality disappear from Livia’s mind when she meets Caesar’s heir, Octavianus. At only 18, he displays both power and modesty. A young wife by that point, Livia finds herself drawn to the golden-haired boy. In time, his fortunes will rise as Livia’s family faces terrible danger. But her sharp intellect - and her heart - will lead Livia to make an unbelievable choice - one that will give her greater sway over Rome than she could have ever foreseen.

©2013 Phyllis T. Smith (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you loved I, CLAUDIUS. You'll love this book!

I'm a huge fan of I, Cladius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves. So, when I heard about this book, I was really excited.
It is written in the same manner as Robert Graves' books. But, this time Livia gets her say.
GREAT BOOK! I recommend it to all historical fiction fans.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Shallow, dull.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This might be good for a 13 year old girl who wants a romance with a little history thrown in to give it a plot and motives for the characters. The book covers only her life at about 15, and then pretty much ends after a few years of being Empress with Octavian. Insipid characterizations. No feeling of being in Rome.

What was most disappointing about Phyllis T. Smith’s story?

How shallow Livia and Octavian are. Like 16 year olds.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

It was all right, given the material.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from I Am Livia?

So much with her first husband and her very early years with Octavius, with no development of her subsequent life where, indeed, lots of people died who interfered with her.

Any additional comments?

No.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I wanted to like it

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, the two hours I spent with this book are lost forever.

What didn’t you like about Joyce Bean’s performance?

The narration is a performance, not a reading. Children's voices are squeaky, men's voices are gravelly, and the narrator's voice is flat. There's a weird pause before "he said" or "I replied" almost every time (probably so the reader can adjust her voice). There's a strange rhythmic pattern to the sentences: two are read on a rising tone, one on a falling tone, and one is flat. Rinse and repeat.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Depending on the casting, yes I would.

Any additional comments?

I wanted to like this, I really did. But after two hours, I knew It was a waste of time.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book . . .

Wonderfully written. Beautifully narrated. I spent a couple of hours studying the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, which greatly added to my understanding and enjoyment of I Am Livia., for her story plays a central role during this important transitional period of Rome's history. But don't get me wrong. Although it greatly enhanced this void is my historical knowledge, that isn't why I chose to read it. I chose it for the book's promise of being a fascinating read about real lives sometimes caught up in what seemed unresolvable human dilemmas. And the author and narrator could not have done a better job in keeping this promise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Why couldn't I have learned like this in school?

I loved every moment of this audiobook. Because of this book, at 40 years old I have gained an intense and renewed thirst for Historical knowledge. Phillis Smith uniquely empathizes with Livia Drusilla's character gives candid yet historically accurate accounts of some of the most important events to shape the world. This book left me wanting more. More knowledge of who history and even prehistory.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazingly good first novel! I LOVED IT

I can't believe this mature woman hasn't been a published author all her life. Livia and the other characters in "I am Livia" are almost real flesh and blood people -- only 2000 years gone now. The events are based on history, but the minor incidents are imagined in ways that demonstrate the very wit and brilliance that Livia and Octavius must actually have possessed to gain so much, so young. They are so amazing, yet so believable! The plot is exciting, the minor characters intriguing, and the narration excellent. Great job, and a great price, too!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Even better listening than reading!

Although I’ve read this book already, I am picking up so much more listening to it! On a bit of an Ancient Rome binge at the moment and this books fits perfectly.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JMcCord
  • Chesapeake Virginia
  • 07-12-18

Great story but different narrator

Narrator's voice too harsh & not nice to listen to. Great story but could have been brilliant in other hands.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

More Harlequin than I Claudius

Rome is such a fascinating subject. This is not a fascinating book. Livia deserves better than a vague bodice ripper.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great point of view

It was wonderful to hear a rendition of the mother of Rome’s viewpoint. Augustus, or “Tavius” as she calls him is such a compelling and fascinating persona, also my favorite Caesar. The story is written like a retelling in a continuous journal. The narration is average, sometimes the inflections don’t match the words, so I consider it an average, certainly not terrible narration.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Insomniac Cat
  • 07-26-15

Read the book instead

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I hated the voice of the narrator. At times it sounded like a computer-generated voice. The accent annoyed me, too.

What didn’t you like about Joyce Bean’s performance?

Her reading was robotic and, at times, too fast. She 'over-acted' the dialogue.

Any additional comments?

I was about a third through the book when I was offered a free trial of Audible, so I chose the same book to listen to. I could barely listen to a page. It was awful. It was far more enjoyable without the distraction of such a coarse voice. All I can add is please, don't let this put you off the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Aimee
  • 01-02-16

nice, but a little hollywood/generic

the narrator of this one kind of annoyed me with her slightly gravelly voice, and strange pauses. the story itself was simple but a bit unbalanced in terms of timeline, and perspective (Cleopatra was a ruthless seductress blah blah blah). Not much charisma to the character, but was relatively easy to listen to.