Friday, November 5, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Title/Author: Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Publisher/Date published: Quercus Publishing Plc, July 2009
How I got this book: I own it.
Why I read this book: it sounded amazing and I used to be obsessed with anything to do with ancient Rome and Greece, this one fits that rather nicely.

Goodreads summary: "The marriage of Marc Antony and Kleopatra 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."

Kleopatra fascinates me more every time I read something about her, though I've never actually read a book that focuses solely on her. In this book she's described as an extremely strong woman, who rules her people fairly and loves passionately. In ancient Egypt women can be as powerful or more so than men, which is a winning point for that culture in my opinion.
We're thrown right into the action surrounding the defeat of Marc Antony by Octavian and as such don't get to see much of Kleopatra herself before she commits suicide, which I was a bit sad about.

Three of Kleopatra's children, Kleopatra Selene, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy (the twins' younger brother) are then transported by sea to Rome. Ptolemy dies on the way there and this leaves Selene and Antony, who also fear for their lives, especially after hearing two of their half brothers are killed by Octavian.
Octavian doesn't actually seem to want to cause them harm, as long as they're not a threat to him. He sends them to live with his sister and they go to school along with his daughter, nephew and the son of his wife. They're given the same privileges as the others and slowly adjust to life in Rome, Alexander faster than Selene.

Selene has a passion for sketching, architecture in particular and upon learning this, Octavia (Octavian's sister) persuades Vitruvius, the architect, to make her his apprentice.
Selene was a very likeable main character, she feels passionately about her birth country and is extremely loyal to her brother Alexander. She's smart and cares about other people and what she feels to be injustice. Though she can be quick to judge people, but she's only fifteen at the end of the book, so how much wisdom can you really expect? I felt for her in her unrequited love for Marcellus, Octavia's son. I half expected him to fall in love with her, but this didn't happen and I think she found a better match for her in the end.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed and I would have liked to see her realizing who was really right for her a bit more detailed and gradually, it seemed weird somehow now, even though I had been thinking she should end up with him for a while.

One thing that bothered me: in the title they spell Kleopatra with a C, and I don't get this, since in the book Selene mentions being annoyed at a woman getting it wrong and spelling it with a C instead of a K.

I was shocked at what happened near the end of the book and so sad! This is a book I couldn't put down, it was so wonderful, shockingly violent and anxiety-inducing! My obsession with Ancient Rome is renewed and I would love to learn more about Kleopatra as well.
This is one for the historical fiction lovers among us!

My rating: 5 stars.


  1. This book is on my TBR list but I can't find it anywhere! Her mother was a fascinating woman - glad to hear this book is good! :)

  2. I've only seen Cleopatra spelled with a "C"...never with a "K". It would annoy me that they spelled her name differently on the cover though.

  3. I like historical fiction, but have not read much in this time period...I have a Cleopatra novel on my TBR pile (not this one), and your review has prompted me to dig it out :)

  4. Oh my goodness that sounds good!!! I love the cover, too. :)

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