|The remains of the Vestal Virgin house. The temple is in the right-hand corner.|
Tuccia longs to be a Vestal Virgin and guard the goddess’s perpetually-burning fire. Despite the separation from her family, the endless hours of rituals, the vows of celibacy, and the fatal consequences of failure, Tuccia’s love for the goddess sustains her through all difficulties.
Then the war against Carthage incites the wrongful execution of a priestess whom Tuccia loves as a mother. Believing the goddess should protect the innocent, her faith is shattered by anger. Unable to regain her sense of purpose, Tuccia’s disillusionment causes her to be a disappointment to herself and everyone around her.
Eventually she does the unthinkable; she allows the sacred fire to go out. Tuccia narrowly escapes flogging but by now feels too unworthy to even touch the temple steps. Humiliated and heartbroken, she decides to leave the House of the Vestals after her required years of service end.
When Tuccia refuses the seduction of a manipulative priest, he accuses her of impurity to punish her and she is imprisoned. To avoid certain death, she can either give in to his advances or trust Vesta to help her perform a miracle to demonstrate her faithfulness; she must carry a perforated bowl of water from the River Tiber to the Temple of Vesta. What starts as an accusation that could end her life becomes her moment to prove her worthiness to Rome, to the gods, and most importantly, to herself.
SACRED FIRE is a 109,000-word women’s fiction/historical fiction based on a popular Roman legend.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University, and I was selected to speak at the Historical Novel Society Conference in a panel on Depicting Religion in Historical Fiction.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.