Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicki Alvear Shecter
Cleopatra Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony—the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she’s ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavius’s household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.
As a lover of ancient history, Egypt, and Cleopatra, I was doomed to fall in love with this book. Full of intrigue, power struggles, and wonderfully accurate history (I’ll come back to this point in a minute), Cleopatra’s Moon is just fantastic. The heroine, Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the Cleopatra we all know and love, is a brilliantly imagined character. She has many of the usual heroic characteristics, but the best part is - she has flaws. Cleopatra Selene doesn’t excel at everything in the unrealistic way some heroines and heroes do.
Shecter’s portrayal of the Romans and Egyptians is obviously well-researched, and portrays them quite realistically. Obviously, some artistic liberty is used. Case in point: Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Marc Antony are all portayed in a somewhat unrealistically flattering light. However, I thought this fit with the story. Selene, who’s telling the story, would be likely to cast her family in a light somewhat more flattering than history textbooks.
Overall, Cleopatra’s Moon is one of the best historical fiction books I’ve read dealing with ancient Egypt, especially since its heroine is Cleopatra’s daughter, who is often overlooked in favor of her mother.
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