"First-time novelist Vicky Alvear Shecter plunges us into the captivating world of Cleopatra Selene, the only one of Queen Cleopatra's four children (the other three were males) to survive into adulthood. It may surprise you to learn that Queen Cleopatra not only possessed a hypnotic beauty and keen intelligence, but that she was also a mother. Shecter may imagine the thoughts of Queen Cleopatra's extraordinary daughter, but the author anchors this riveting work of fiction with fascinating facts gleaned from years of research (for her nonfiction books Alexander the Great Rocks the World and Cleopatra Rules!).
Shecter smoothly balances historical intrigue with classic adolescent romance and abundant details of life in Egypt and Rome--the food, smells, sounds and sights. Key scenes early on establish Cleopatra Selene's sense of confidence and curiosity, as well as the high respect accorded to women in Egypt versus their second-class status in Rome. The author throws some curve balls in the plot's development but, as rereadings will divulge, she plants subtle indicators all along the way. Scrupulous and generous endnotes reveal where Shecter either diverged from the facts or took liberties to fill in missing information.
If you grew up (as this reader did) lapping up everything about ancient Egypt--its people, their gods, the sense of ceremony, the pyramids, the burial rituals--this book will reignite a sense of astonishment that this culture, so advanced, existed thousands of years before our own. For teens, it serves as a powerful reminder of how the questions so central to becoming an adult cross every line of class, era and culture."
Jennifer M. Brown
July 27 2011