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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter #1) by Stephanie Dray

Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #1)


Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 351 pages (Paperback)
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Publication Date: January 4th 2011 by Berkley Trade

This one had been on my TBR list since 2010 before I finally got to it in early January and now after reading it and experiencing the author's story telling ability I'm kicking myself for having not read it when it first got recommended to me then.

Lily of the Nile is everything I love in a novel. There's magic, myth, history, romance and more than a little political intrigue that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the early morning. I've always loved reading about the Cleopatras, Egypt, Rome and the mythologies of the two respective lands since I was small so for me Lily of the Nile was the book for me.

While I don't remember much about Cleopatra Selene, Cleopatra and Marc Antony's daughter from my prior readings, that didn't stop me from loving Stephanie Dray's fictional portrayal of her. I loved how I felt I truly got to know Selene in Lily of the Nile because of the way the story is told over a few years I was able to see her grow from a girl to a young woman with the political know how of her famous mother. I liked her attitude. She may have been a Princess of Egypt, but she wasn't at all snobby, conceited or arrogant like I sort of expected her to be just be just because of her social status. In the beginning of the book, she was a little more brash and flung her royal status around a lot, but she did so in fear. I also loved how true to form, Egypt wouldn't let there prodigal daughter be lost to a foreign land without the gods imparting some magical abilities on Selene is a very unique way that I thought added just the right amount of mysticism to the plot, especially seeing as how it was able to impact the courses of certain events.

Stephanie Dray was excellent at capturing the emotions of Selene, and the other characters in the book and making them palpable. I felt Selene's anticipation and fear when she would anger Caesar. I felt her joy when things seemed to be looking up for her and her younger brother, along with her anger towards her twin brother as well as her grief when their mother died, which I loved. When an author is able to move me with their words, make me feel what the characters are feeling I feel even more immersed in the story and with this one there was no shortage of emotions.

Aside from Selene, I also enjoyed the other characters and as much as I don't want to admit it I enjoyed Caesar's character second best because he made for one hell of an antagonist. There was so much to hate about him, and hate him I did but he added so much to the tale that there would be no story without him. He is the ruler of the Roman empire and he has his sights on owning a Cleopatra, so Selene, using all her years of studying her mother's politics uses this to her advantage. The political climate at the time was a rough one and that is apparent for all to see as you see Selene and the Caesar interact throughout the novel.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic work of historical fiction. I felt as though I were in Rome with Selene and her brothers in Caesar's house. I may have been a little worried when I first started reading the book, but that feeling quickly wore off as I fell in love with Dray's rich and engaging writing style, characters and plot.

I would recommend this one to anyone who loves historical fiction especially historical fiction after the fall of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Dray tells a wonderful tale of political intrigue, feuding nations and the story of a girl robbed of almost everything except her pride and ambitions. Complex and emotional, this is one novel you surely don't want to miss.

Loved It!

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  1. Aw yay! That's always awesome finding a read like that. I've had ones in the past too that languished on my tbr pile or on my bookshelf for years and when I finally read them I couldn't believe I'd wasted all that time. lol

    1. Glad I'm not the only one who lets book sit for years lol.

  2. Fabulous review Kimberly, and I love this period in history. I am so glad you enjoyed this!

    1. Isn't it just a magical time? Thanks for stopping by Kimberly

  3. Sounds like a interesting and cool book. Great review

  4. I've had this one on my Nook for ages. I will have to move it up on my list. Have you read Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran? It's an excellent historical fiction book about Selene. I almost missed a flight because the book pulled me in and wouldn't let me go. Have a great week!


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