“Every day will be like this, I thought. Every morning for the rest of my life I will be treated as the Heretic’s niece. If I don’t change their opinion of me, I will never escape it.” (169)

I finished this novel at 3 this morning. Let me just say–it is so, so nice to return to one of my first ancient history obsessions: Egypt. It has been a long time since I’ve read anything regarding Egypt–her history, her people. Due to my overload of Tudor related history, I was not sure I would even return to history based novels for a while. I’ve even had to temporarily remove certain novels until I have  a Tudor history craving again. Egypt and England–two of my favorite kingdoms and constant loves–I just need a small break from one for a bit.

So, I guess this entry might be a small lesson based on what I remember of Egyptian history. To keep it honest, I’ll only write what I remember completely:

Nefertari is one of the queens I remember vividly next to Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti. Nefertari is rumored to have been named in honor of Nefertiti, who came a couple of decades before her. She was married to Ramesses the Great–the pharaoh who fought with Moses. Historians do not know much about Nefertari’s beginnings, but it is believed she is related to Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, and Akhenaten. She gave Ramesses many children, none of which lived long enough to rule Egypt. Nefertari is known for being the greatest love of Ramesses (he wrote poetry and built temples dedicated to her) and her importance in political matters. In regards to their love match, he wrote on her burial chamber wall: “My love is unique and none can rival her… Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart.” (374) The romantic in me goes, “Awww!!”

Obviously, historical fiction writers take liberties with information that is fuzzy or not completely known. Michelle Moran makes it work where other authors might lack. There is a believability to her writing. I love the character development–and especially enjoyed Nefertari’s plan to leave the court so Ramesses will miss her. One of the oldest games in the book–absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I really liked  all the conflicts and sub-plots–they really made the story stand out from other novels I’ve read. Moran states that she does place information for the holes in history, so certain things might not fit. However, the story flows without hitch. Oh! And I soo envied Moran’s descriptions of Nerfertari’s makeup regimen–perhaps not the entire process–but the styles and colors. And the Nubian wigs–Ahh!!

The Heretic Queen was such an amazing read. Thanks to school it took a tad longer to finish the novel–but it is indeed finished. I will definitely be reading this particular novel again. I look forward to reading Moran’s Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter. I give Michelle Moran’s The Heretic Queen a 4.5 out of 5.

“Performing deft feats of Egyptian magic, Michelle Moran transforms stone-cold history-from-hieroglyphics into gripping narrative, peopled with unforgettable characters seething with conflict and passion. I couldn’t stop reading, but I didn’t want this book to end.”
–Robin Maxwell, author of Mademoiselle Boelyn