From the dust jacket:
When Nefertari’s entire family is killed in a fire, she’s left to grow up alone, a spare princess in the palace of the new Pharaoh. Her young life is overshadowed by the past – the name of her infamous aunt, Nefertiti, the Heretic Queen, still strikes terror into the souls of Egyptians. So, when she finds herself falling in love with the young Pharaoh, Ramesses, she knows it’s not going to be easy to win his heart.
But when the Pharaoh’ aunt takes Nefertiti under her wing and begins to educate her in the ways to gain a man’s attention – and hold it – marriage to him seems within her reach. Yet, even as Ramesses declares his love for her, she knows there’s more work to be done. If she’s to be Queen, all of Egypt must recognize her worth and overcome her connection to the dark, heretical days of her past.
Ramesses will face challenges from all sides: war, drought, conquest, and the determination of a man named Ahmoses will all threaten his right. Could Egypt’s rulers, and more importantly her people, ever allow him to marry the womean he loves, let alone make her his Queen?
Michelle Moran is my newest favorite author. Her books are well crafted and meticulously researched. The historical part of her work is amazingly vivid; she really brings ancient Egypt to life. But this can be a problem for some authors; while they excel at research and writing a historical scene, their characters are flat. The fiction part of their novels are left wanting. Thankfully, Michelle is just as talented at writing her characters as she is at researching them – her novels really are not to be missed.
I would really recommend reading Nefertiti before The Heretic Queen. It’s not necessary; they are written as stand alone novels and function well as such. But in order to understand the hurdles that Nefertari must clear, it is helpful to have read an account of her aunt’s tumultuous reign.
Nefertari herself is a wonderful character. She is smart and rational, but at the same time, she is very vulnerable. Her mother, Mutny, was the narrator of Nefertiti, and was definitely the most sympathetic character in the book. Nefertari is the same way, though I do like seeing the book through her eyes, rather than the eyes of someone watching on the sidelines. Moran made a wise choice in narrators, making her voice clear and strong.
Moran’s next novel, Cleopatra’s Daughter, will be about the surviving children of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. It sounds like it will be an amazing read, and I can’t wait for its release next year.