Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter is the story of Lucia and Tag two regular people based out of Pompeii. Tag has a crush on Lucia, but of course, as he is a medical slave for the gladiatorial school that her father owns, much is not expected to come from that arrangement. As the story goes on, Shecter does a fantastic job of building a big world around Pompeii, rich with vibrant characters. Usually I latch on to the main characters, but in this book, I found myself easily able to get in to the scene. Of course, history is not rewritten in this book, as the volcano does erupt. Will Tag and Lucia find happiness together or will differences in station, rich Roman lords, and this volcano signal their relationships demise? To find out, you will need to read Curses and Smoke.
Despite the fact that this was written for a younger audience. Around 6-9th grade, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book. The only issue I had took place near the end, and once you read it, you will understand. For great storytelling and an immersive historical past, I am giving Curses and Smoke 4/5 volcanoes for a great story!