Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cleopatra Confesses (YA)

Cleopatra Confesses. Carolyn Meyer. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 304 pages.

From the prologue: My enemy stands at the gates of my city, Alexandria in Egypt. 

From chapter one: I gaze out at the sea and remember a summer day in the reign of my father, King Ptolemy XII. In this memory I am ten years old. It is the season of the Inundation, the time of year when the Nile overflows its banks, flooding the fields and renewing them for planting. 

While Cleopatra Confesses wouldn't be my absolute favorite Carolyn Meyer novel, I can easily say that it was a good book. I found it compelling. True, most readers will know the ultimate fate of Cleopatra. But still, this historical novel for teens focuses on Cleopatra's journey to that event. The novel is divided into sections. We see her as a young child who loves and adores her father. We see her as a young teen who distrusts her older sisters who proclaim themselves queens when their father enters exile. We see her fear for her life, but meet fear with determination, with strength not weakness. We see her happy reunion with her father, we see her share some of the glory with her father, with her brother, as she does become Queen. We see her as she becomes a mature woman who desires love and passion in addition to power. Julius Caesar gets a little attention--a chapter or two. But if you're expecting this to be a love story--though a tragic, slightly unusual love story--between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, you'll be disappointed. Just an epilogue brings readers up to date. I actually was pleased with this. Because the other story has been told again and again and again. But this story that focuses on her early years, on the rivalry between her and her sisters, on her unhappy marriages to her much, much younger brothers, on her early years as Queen, that is the story that is most worth telling. Especially for this audience.

Read Cleopatra Confesses
  • If you're a fan of Carolyn Meyer
  • If you're a fan of historical fiction, particularly historical fiction set in Egypt
  • If you're interested in the Roman Empire
  • If you're a fan of Shakespeare (Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra)
  • If you're interested in politics and power struggles--particularly within families!

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Cleo Li-Schwartz said...

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter is a good book too. Rather than being about Cleopatra, it's about her daughter, Cleopatra Selene.

Lovely Lady said...

Cleopatra's Moon sounds really good. I saw a book once that might have been that one that I almost picked up. I love historical fiction and I loved the last book I read about Cleopatra but, their was to much emphasis on the romance I think. So, I'm ready for a different point of view. Thanks again for the great review! :)