Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: September 2009
Author Site: http://michellemoran.com/
My Rating: 5/5
Source: Hardcover provided by author
Synopsis [from bn.com]:
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.
Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.
The one word that comes to mind to sum up my feelings for CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER, is "wow"! I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm not a book historical fiction reader. I'm slowly dipping my toes into the genre and I found this book simply amazing. I was totally engrossed in Selene's life. I found myself wanting more and hating the fact that the story had to come to an end. I literally fell in love with Michelle's writing. I was hooked from the beginning and didn't want to let go.
Michelle's writing is rich with descriptive passages that put you right into the time period. I haven't read any of her other books (but I definitely plan on it) so I can't compare this to her other ones but the research she must have done is overwhelming to think about. She captured details of buildings, clothing, and atmosphere so well. As for her characters, I have a very strong feeling that she stayed as true to them as possible while still able to add a spin to them that will appeal to every type of reader. Classified as Young Adult or Adult Fiction, it certainly is a coming of age novel with Selene as the main character. I found it completely fascinating that these characters were so very mature for their young ages. I know that's how the time period was but I kept forgetting how young Selene was in the book. Her voice is so different than teenagers her age in the modern world. But of course, that's to be expected.
I've always been interested in this time period. I don't know much about Cleopatra, Marc Antony, their children, or Octavian let alone what went down in this era. Michelle's book felt like a doorway into a world I've always wanted to know more about. Like I said before, I didn't want it to end. I found myself a little confused at the beginning because I had a hard time getting the characters straight, but Michelle provides so many resources to help keep readers oriented. The more you read, the better acquainted you become with these characters.
Selene was a true character, filled with such depth and clarity. Her story is filled with heartache, adventure, suspense, romance, betrayal...I mean it has it all. If you haven't read this yet I highly recommend it. If you aren't sure if you'll like it, take it from one who isn't that into historicals... it's a definite MUST read!! You'll definitely get lost in CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER.