Selene grew up in a palace on the Nile under parents Cleopatra and Mark Antony – the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But when a cruel Roman Emperor takes the country and whisks the princess to Rome against her will. She finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies – until she reaches out to claim her own. (goodreads.com)
Whatever you do don’t read CLEOPATRA’S MOON and CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran too close together. They’re the same story. Luckily it’s been long enough since I’ve read the latter that I can’t remember details although I did remember some of the big details. For instance I knew how the story ended before I got there. Granted if you’re more familiar with the history you’ll know it already anyway. Two excellent authors writing the same story. Other than I loved the latter I won’t be comparing the two because I don’t remember enough detail.
That being said, CLEOPATRA’S MOON was excellent. Shecter did a fantastic job of inserting all of this historical information and making it a part of the story instead of piles of unnecessary information for the sake of having done the research. The world became its own character, weaving itself into the story and thriving around the characters themselves. I saw, smelt, and felt everything Shecter was writing.
The story itself was incredibly moving. It truly is heartbreaking watching what is rightly a child (although don’t tell her that) struggle to remember where she came from and grasping onto the last shreds of her life while being thrust into such terrifying unknown. And the ending, major historical event aside, was fantastic for Cleopatra Selene’s dawning realization. It was exactly what she needed. I certainly found myself tearing up in spots. Shecter has a knack for drawing feelings out of characters and making you feel every little bit of what they do. Little Ptolly. Ugh. My heart.
I loved how Cleopatra Selene fought for her mother’s and father’s memories every step of the way. She never let anyone sully her memory of her parents even when Augustus tried to drown out their excellence in his own smear campaign in order to make himself look better. It’s the author bucking against history too and I love it. History smeared Cleopatra into the dirt and the more books, fiction or non-fiction, that we can get that attempt to erase that craven vixen image the better.
If you want history to come to life before your eyes and read an excellent story with finely crafted characters while you’re at it, read CLEOPATRA’S MOON. You won’t want it to end.