Michelle Moran: Cleopatra’s Daughter

At the dawn of the Roman Empire, when tyranny ruled, a daughter of Egypt and a son of Rome found each other…

Selene’s legendary parents are gone. Her country taken, she has been brought to the city of Rome in chains, with only her twin brother, Alexander, to remind her of home and all she once had.

Living under the watchful eyes of the ruling family, Selene and her brother must quickly learn how to be Roman – and how to be useful to Caesar. She puts her artistry to work, in the hope of staying alive and being allowed to return to Egypt. Before long, however, she is distracted by the young and handsome heir to the empire…

When the elusive ‘Red Eagle’ starts calling for the end of slavery, Selene and Alexander are in grave danger. Will this mysterious figure bring their liberation, or their demise?

I’ve previously read and enjoyed two of Michelle Moran’s historical fictions, and after the last one I added most of her collection to my Goodreads. Her stories are so rich and detailed that I feel I’ve been transported right into the ancients. Granted, they aren’t perfect–and they are very fictional–but extremely fun to read. And you get a fantastic look at the world from a woman’s view at the famous people we hear about in history, which were typically men.

Cleopatra’s Daughter shows us what Rome looked like during Octavian’s rule from Kleopatra Selene’s perspective. She is terrified when forced to leave Alexandria after her mother and father commit suicide, and her world is thus turned upside down. Through her eyes we see war and gladiator battles and slave riots and court judgment–everything Rome is famous for, but from an outsider looking on horrified.

There are a couple things to look out for. There are a few mentions of rape, especially when it comes to the female slaves. And speaking of slavery, there is a multitude of it. The attitudes are mixed–some are for, some are against. There’s a revolt happening and a rebel is trying to stage an uprising in the Senate to free them–there are some interesting conversations happening, but I’m not sure as much care was spent on those sensitive conversations as could have been. The biggest problem I noticed was that blue eyes/blonde hair was the MOST BEAUTIFUL AND COVETED ALWAYS–even though the Romans had conquered Gaul and taken them as slaves. The Romans still had a preference for those blue eyes and that blonde hair–it was mentioned at least every other chapter.

It isn’t the most problematic book I’ve ever read–just some things to be aware of while you’re reading. Keep your eyes open. Selene is not a woman I could ever say I want to be. But it was certainly fascinating being in her shoes for a few hundred pages.

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Rebel Queen

I read Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti a few months ago, and was completely drawn into her historical fiction, so when NetGalley offered me the ARC of her new book Rebel Queen my reaction was a resounding YES PLEASE!!!!!!

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There is “historical fiction” that is loosely based on a time period or event, but I never really take it any more seriously than any other fiction book that I read.

Than there is REAL HISTORICAL FICTION, where the author does buckets and buckets of research, and the end product is more fact than novel. There’s usually a hefty author’s note at the beginning, and an even bigger one at the end, explaining all of the changes made to the real events. And when you read the book, it does not take long to imagine yourself in ancient Egypt, or in India during the British colonization.

This is how I feel when I read Michelle Moran’s books. I really liked Nefertiti…I LOVED Rebel Queen. It is one of those books that even when I am not actively reading it, I’m playing parts of it in my head. Serious book hangover here. Last night while I was cutting potatoes for dinner, I was definitely reliving scenes from the Rani Mahal.

There’s such a vast spectrum of culture described in this book, and I was completely enthralled. And then when the bright colors of India clash up against Victorian England–it is almost comical to watch–the difference in modesty rules:  showing belly but not breasts vs breasts but not belly, men eating with women, kissing hands. Brightness does not always mean vulgarity.

The strength of female characters in this history is what struck me the most. The Rani and her Durga Dal are fierce competition for the British. In a country where most women are in purdah, and where in the rest of the world women are seen as meek and mild socialites, having a group of educated, strong, fighting women is such an amazing thing to me. These are good heroes. Can we start teaching our girls about these women in school?

This book is a win. It’s release date is set for March 3, and it is definitely on my TO BUY list!

Disclaimer:  This ARC was given to me by NetGalley.

I’m going to count this as #28 on PopSugar Challenge (A book with antonyms in the title), because it’s probably as close as I’m going to get.

Read This Month

I did a number on the list I had created for myself, and that was a doozy! It was mostly ebooks, so unfortunately, it’s not much of a picture…more of a list.

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Here’s the complete list, with authors and links to any reviews I did:

  1. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
  2. Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
  3. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
  4. Aaron’s Rod by DH Lawrence
  5. Dorothy Must Die Danielle Paige
  6. Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
  7. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  8. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  9. The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer
  10. IT by Stephen King
  11. Greyhound by Steffan Piper
  12. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
  13. It Happened on Broadway by Myrna Katz Frommer

WWW Wednesday 10/29/2014

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What are you currently reading?

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Greyhound by Steffan Piper

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Fairies by Skye Alexander

The Iliad by Homer (We’ll see…I have some really huge titles on this TBL. I didn’t plan this out so well. I may have to rethink this one.)

Nefertiti

It’s been a little while since I’ve read a true historical fiction novel. Sure, a lot of what I read has old world feel to it, but it all seems to be based in fantasy.

It was refreshing to take a dive back into a period of time that actually happened–1300 BC. I was reading names that, while I couldn’t necessarily pronounce them, I at least recognized them from World History classes. I like making the connections between those people in stories like that, seeing their actual relationships (knowing of course that they are somewhat fictionalized, since we cannot know exactly what happened so far in the past). It helps to put a face on those dull lessons that I had back in school.

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Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti was extremely entertaining, while being educational. There was so much about that period of time that I did not previously know. For instance, I did not know that having two wives was the norm, or how Nefertiti became Pharaoh. The competition and politics between the two gods was extremely interesting as well, especially when it came to changing the names. I didn’t even make the connection to King Tut at first…until they changed his name!

I have mixed feelings about the sisterly perspective. On one hand, it gave us an outsider’s look–and so we could see much more about city life, and the emotions separate from Nefertiti. However, that means we didn’t get to know anything about her secrets, her true power, and her relationship with Pharaoh. And maybe that was the point–probably no one knows the things that she did. Those are known only to Nefertiti. Still…I have so many questions!

If you like historical fiction, you’ll enjoy this. Mut is a terrific narrator, and the rest of the characters are really enjoyable. Everything meshes well in the novel, and it’s just a smooth, lovely read.

WWW Wednesday 10/22/2014

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I’m just going to address the elephant in the room and just say that I am REALLY bad at remembering to do Teaser Tuesdays until it’s Wednesday and too late….OOPS! Tuesdays are always really busy days for me…sorry for the slacking off!

 

What are you currently reading?

Greyhound by Steffan Piper

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

IT by Stephen King…I totally had to give up on this after 450 pages, so I didn’t review it. It was so lackluster and underwhelming. Ugh.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

It Happened on Broadway by Myrna Katz Frommer