To Read or Not to Read?

Cleopatra’s Daugther by Michelle Moran

I had actually had Cleopatra’s Daughter on my ‘to read’ list for quite some time before I picked it up. My motivation for finally doing so was when I did a little research on Cleopatra and Mark Antony for a library presentation.

But this story really had little to do with Cleopatra (who according to the narrator was actually Kleopatra with a K which makes me curious why the author used the C version in the title but the K one throughout the story). Instead the focus is on her twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios which was interesting because there’s not a whole heck of a lot of history about them at least not as much information as was known about their mother.

I was worried when I began reading and was faced with a pretty huge historical inaccuracy right away. In everything I’ve read Marc did not get a chance to see his wife and daughters before his death but this change certainly did add drama and emotion to the scene which made the twins, who were 10 at this point, very vulnerable and sympathetic characters.

Even though there were likely inaccuracies and definitely things that were made up I liked how Moran presented the twins who, even though they were taken by their father’s conquerer and didn’t know their fate, they were still willing to speak their minds and act like normal children. They just weren’t like children as we know them now because of their maturity and good sense (I kept being surprised by reminders that all the main characters were under the age of 15) but I think that accurately reflected the time. Cleopatra Selene’s world was one where marriage at 15 or younger was normal and death was just around the corned so I can see why one would have to grow up real fast.

The only other complaint I have is that the dialogue was very modern only with random Roman words and terms thrown in. I read it easily enough and it didn’t bug me enough to throw me out of the setting but if was odd.

All in all I really liked this novel and actually wouldn’t have minded if it had been longer and had followed more of Cleopatra Selene’s life.

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