Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Release Date: September 15, 2009 
Paperback: July 2, 2009
Source: Author & Publisher

Synopsis: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.

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. Complete synopsis can be found here.
Historical fiction is probably the trickiest genre to write for because there's so much research involved, and then the author has to seperate fact from fiction and then somehow infuse their own imaginative ideas with events from actual history.  There are very few writers that can strike this balance well but Michelle Moran has done an incredible (and I dare say a perfect) job with Cleopatra's Daughter. It is clear that Moran has researched thoroughly, leaving nothing to chance; everything from the setting of the story to the mannerisms  and daily life of the characters transported me back into the Roman era. I felt as if I were walking along the streets of Rome, dust kicking up at my heels as I followed Selene on her emotional journey.

Selene is a compelling character, witnessing the destruction of her parents, her kingdom, her heritage, and treading on dangerous territory when she lands in Octavia's household with her twin brother. Although fate dealt her a cruel hand, her strong will and intelligence allowed her to thrive under dangerous conditions and because of this tremendous inner strength, I really admired Selene; even at a young age, she understood that her and Alexander's lives were in grave danger the moment they stepped onto Roman ground--their very existance could spark a revolution so the twins had to grow up quickly in order to survive. Like their namesakes, Alexander and Selene were different in personality and talents but together they were a powerful duo. Moran portrays the siblings and many other important historical figures so well that I truly started to believe that the story was fact and not just fiction; I had to shake my head a few times to remember that this was fiction and that most of the drama unfolding came from Moran's mind. I was so entranced by the story that once it reached its bittersweet ending, I was battling myself because it was so wonderful and so tragic and yet I still loved every word.

Impeccably written and bursting with the passion and political intrigue of those turbulent times, Cleopatra's Daughter is a wonderful rendition of the Roman era and how one brave young woman refused to bow down to the rules of the political arena. I used to shy away from historical fiction because I could never get interested in the stories but Michelle Moran has changed that with this book. I enjoyed this story so much that I wrote my research paper on Cleopatra (Selene's mother) and the time period. Believe me, if you want to try historical fiction, you have to pick up a Michelle Moran novel. Her books will change you, as Cleopatra's Daughter did with me.

Rating: 5.0


  1. Yes! Wonderful review of an incredible book! I really loved it too.

  2. It really was an incredible book. I try to act as sexy as her every time I wear my heels!

  3. I've been wanting to read this for a long time, and now I want to read it even more! Great review!

  4. I am definitely going to pick this one up in the library. Awesome review!

  5. I loved this story and I am really not that into historical fiction but this was an amazing read

  6. I've got this book and have been needing to read it. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it! Excellent review! :D


  7. Looks great, I think Im gonna give it a chance and added to my TBR pile ^^ Great Review

  8. Hmm, historical fiction. I think I will give this one a try. It does sound interesting. And a 5 star rating from you always gets to me ;) Hehe.

  9. Five stars?

    I'm impressed! This book has been on my radar for a while. I'll definitely have to check it out now.

  10. That was a very well written review. I love the idea for this book and it is on my wishlist. Thanks for the great review.

  11. This one sounds fabulous! It sounds like Moran is an impressive writer, I'll definitely check this one out. Amazing review :)