The Saint’s Mistress

by Kathryn Bashaar

Told against the fourth-century backdrop of the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, The Saint’s Mistress breathes life into the previously untold story of Saint Augustine and his mistress. 

Defying social norms and traditions, the love between the Roman aristocrat Aurelius Augustinus and Leona, a North African peasant, creates a rift with his mother Monnica, his powerful patron Urbanus, and the Empire itself. When Monnica and Urbanus succeed in separating Leona from her son and securing a more suitable fiancée for Aurelius, Leona commits herself to the Church.

When many years later Leona and Aurelius, now Bishop Augustine, meet again, old passions re-ignite, perennial feuds smolder, and the fate of the Roman Empire in North Africa hangs in the balance.

Release Date: 09/22/2020

As a small child, Kathryn Bashaar earned the nickname Suitcase Simpson, for the little suitcase of books that she carried with her everywhere.  She developed her own writing by keeping a journal starting at age 11.  All 53 years of those journals still live in a closet in her home.

The idea for The Saint’s Mistress came to her while browsing in a library.  She picked up a short biography of Saint Augustine and was surprised to learn that he had a mistress and a child.  She developed an obsession with finding out more about the mistress, but found that history has been mostly silent about her. Even Leona’s real name has been lost. The Saint’s Mistress is Kathryn’s attempt to bring Leona back into the narrative, based on the known facts of Augustine’s life and early Christianity. Kathryn and her husband traveled to Rome and Milan to complete research for the book.  

Kathryn blogs about Pittsburgh history at  She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with her husband Allen and a very cranky cat, within just a few miles of her mother, children, grandson, brother, sister and nephews. Kathryn and Allen have travelled extensively in Europe and North America, but are always glad to come home to their beloved hometown.  

Kathryn’s fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Civil War Times, and the literary journals Metamorphosis and PIF.  Her short story, “Infamy,” won an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s 2014 short-short fiction contest. 

Hardcover: 9780744301335

Paperback: 9780744301069

Large Format: 9780744302684

Ebook: 9780744301076

Audio: 9780744301649

The Saint’s Mistress is a beautiful, fast paced, historical romance, with a little bit of ‘literary epic-ness’ thrown in for good measure; in short, I would definitely recommend this book!” —The Lit Buzz 

“Superbly written. I was engrossed from the very beginning to the very end, with engaging and fully-developed characters offering a glimpse of their lives against the fourth century North African backdrop.” —Best Historical Fiction Blog

“This is Leona’s story and her strength, conviction and character goes to show a  lot about who she was as a person. I love how the author delves into the history and circumstances that thrust Augustine into the limelight and frankly speaking there is something intriguing about someone’s childhood that makes for an interesting read.” —Nilichosoma