Daughters of a powerful family, Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet know that their lives are quite possibly destined to be remembered, but only Nefertiti will be married to the young Pharaoh Amunhotep. Mutny, her devoted younger sister, serves as her sister’s first handmaiden, but soon begins to resent her position as Amunhotep and Nefertiti begin to see beyond themselves and seize power that is not theirs to grasp. She struggles between love for her sister and a life of her own as Egypt is slowly attacked by foreign armies and corruption from within.
I had this book waiting for a couple of months, which was silly of me because I loved it and should have read it immediately. Mutny is endearing; what she wants is what every woman wants, although her every desire is hampered by her constant need to serve her family, especially Nefertiti. The queen herself sometimes comes across as a spoiled child, beguiled by her husband’s wishes, but it’s easy to see why the people loved her and why she is still remembered.
Nefertiti is also very striking for its beautifully described setting. Reading this book is like sinking into Egypt. I think every historical fiction work should try to show us how it may have been to live then, and this book succeeds, both on the level of the palace and on the level of the commoner. It felt so authentic to me, and when I was away from it I couldn’t wait to get back. You can tell that Michelle Moran loves history because it’s obvious that she’s been to Egypt and poured research, time, and love into this book. I was happy when the afterword proved me right on that score. Nefertiti shines with discreet details and description that simply engross the reader. I particularly liked the descriptions of the makeup; I’ve always wondered how they got that distinctive look that you can see in their art and on sculptures, or if the people even made themselves look that way. Here I could almost see how beautiful Nefertiti was and how they enhanced her beauty.
Moran’s writing is also very good and never jolted me out of the tale, as sometimes happens. She makes it very easy to get lost in the story and to feel that the characters are real and sitting right next to you telling you their story. I can’t wait to learn more about their adventures in her next book.
I definitely recommend this, especially to historical fiction buffs. It does exactly what historical fiction should do, and does it so well that it could be a template. I can’t wait for Moran’s next book, which looks to be released in September! In the meantime, you can buy this book from Amazon. You can also check out Michelle Moran’s website or her blog.