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Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran
Review by Marie Burton
This absolutely fantastic novel has me sold on the stories of Cleopatra, Octavian, Augustus, and Caesar. Michelle Moran has given a voice to Cleopatra’s surviving children in a mesmerizing fashion through this third enticing novel. Over 2000 years later, Cleopatra and her children are now fascinating readers everywhere with this newest novel that is expertly written by Michelle Moran.
The story begins when Cleopatra and Marc Antony die in a tragic fashion that propels their remaining children into a frightening world. We meet the twins at age 10, Selene and Alexander and their sweet younger brother Ptolemy. It is through Selene’s words that we experience her uncertain world in this book and it is a journey complete with themes of family bonds, slavery, young love, the suffering of a child who has lost a future along with her parents, and the struggle to maintain one’s beliefs within a different society.
The fate of Selene and her brothers rest with the single man who has destroyed everything dear to them. The narrative through Selene is mature but believable and invigorating for the suspense of the story. Every moment is glazed with the fact that Selene does not know when she will be executed. We are treated to the views that Selene experiences as she enters Rome for the first time as she and her brother are assimilated to an otherwise unknown culture. Michelle cleverly adds depth to the story by deftly explaining the ways of the Romans, as it is experienced first-hand by Selene. The imagery is created beautifully so that we can fully understand the surroundings, from the bathing chamber to watching the races, and the populated town of Rome and its people.
Being quite intelligent, Selene was allowed to study under Caesar’s architect which was a rare thing for a female to be allowed to do. Selene began to study under Vitruvius and through this teaching we were subject to also be educated on both the Egyptian and Roman style of architecture and the materials used through the way the author chose to tell the story.
The writing flows simply and is an enjoyable page-turner. The author’s style is so thorough at its imagery that I breezed through it with an acute understanding even when there were ancient words used at times.
This is a wonderful story that gives a voice to an otherwise unknown Cleopatra’s daughter, who was once the sun and moon of Egypt, and it is masterfully told. I would definitely recommend this throughout the historical fiction and even young adult genres. This is something that would work well for a history class and a book club as well.
Marie Burton is a happily married mom to two kids who works full-time at a General Contractor’s office. You can check out her blog at burtonreview.blogspot.com.