In 9th-century Ireland, a feisty young witch named Treasa and Amaurus, an Ethiopian mercenary, make an odd couple in this tale of multiple deceptions and mistaken identities. Author Louisa Trent does her usual outstanding job of immersing her historical characters firmly in their time and place and weaving a complex tale.
Amaurus is the mercenary with the heart of gold and strong moral ethic despite his background of slavery and his “dark proclivities” that find him drawn to more of the dominance and submission forms of love. Treasa is the young witch who can’t quite seem to do anything right, so she’s stripped of her memory and sent on a mission that finds her posing as a young boy that Amaurus takes as a slave.Since Amaurus is firmly heterosexual, his feelings for the "boy" form a major source of conflict for him.
Trent does a great job of painting Amaurus as a richly faceted character we love to love. He’s disturbed by his feelings for his young “male” slave, shows self-restraint in following his own moral code, and remains steadfast to those who hire him.
Treasa’s character is more problematic. For one thing, she’s very young and comes across as very immature. While that is in keeping with her character as the young screw-up witch, what intends to be humor comes across as a bit over-the-top juvenile behavior. Also, she uses some very modern slang terms (by making “boo-boos,” for example) that feel really out of place for a story set in ancient Ireland.
On the whole, though, Rose (and I won’t give a “spoiler” to explain the title) is a sexy romp through a fascinating time in history.