I tried not to, but I had really high expectations of this book. I particularly enjoyed Nefertiti and everyone who got The Heretic Queen before me reported that it was even better. It’s very hard to tamp down excitement in that circumstance! So I waited with anticipation and when it finally came and I had finished my previous read, I read The Heretic Queen in less than 24 hours. It was just that good.
Nefertari has no family beyond her nurse, Merit. She is a royal princess from a family of heretics, even though her parents never worshipped Aten like her aunt and uncle. As such, the prejudice against her is immense, and outside of her friends Asha and Ramesses, Nefertari feels very alone. The public hates her for being Nefertiti’s niece. When Ramesses is crowned Pharaoh alongside his father and takes a wife, Nefertari realizes how she feels about him, and that she must contest the emerging political schemes against her in order to secure her place in the Egyptian world – by Ramesses’s side, queen of the kingdom.
I loved this book! Nefertari was a wonderful character and it was very easy to feel for her and be on her side throughout. She is intelligent, determined, honest, and resourceful, character traits that many of us can identify with. The political scene was complicated in some respects, especially regarding the past, but I wasn’t confused and they served to heighten the tension throughout the story. Nefertari’s relationships with her friends, her tutor, her nurse, and even her feelings towards the family she never knew are drawn clearly and genuinely.
Furthermore, the author’s research is clearly extensive. She slips in so much historical detail without ever dragging down the story. As I’m reading, I can envision the outfits, the wide expanses of desert, the ships, the court, and people’s faces, right down to their eyeliner, and I am very bad at visualizing when I’m reading. I feel that I haven’t just read a great work of historical fiction, but that I’ve actually learned something and I’m inspired to go out and read more about ancient Egypt. Michelle Moran has really brought this culture to life for me with her splendid historical novels.
I would definitely, definitely recommend this one. It takes two books for an author to hit my favorites list, and I can say that Michelle is without question on the list; this book surpassed my expectations and I am anxiously awaiting her third novel!
Finally, I am happy to announce that I have two signed hardcover copies to give away! To enter, leave a comment on this post first. For an additional entry, post about this giveaway on your blog and come back with a link. The contest will be open until Friday, November 7th and I’ll announce the winners the next day. The contest is open worldwide.
If you’re too impatient to try your luck, buy this book on Amazon.