Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel

Cleopatra's Daughter - Michelle Moran Where to start, first I love history, but some books can be a bit dry sometimes, this one is not. It's a fantastic piece that made me reading every word and turning the pages fast. When it come to real historical persons I tend to google, but I just could not do it here. I wanted to read it. It's also great in another aspect, many books like this tend to go through the whole life story, instead here we read about a couple of years when she is young. Back in the back there are some historic facts what happened to everyone later, oh do not read those beforehand like I happened to do, kind of spoiled me there since I didn't know the history from before.This book takes place in the glory that is Rome, Marc Anthony and Cleopatra are dead and their surviving children are brought to Rome. But they are lucky and the twins are cared for Octavian's sister who was once married to Marc Anthony. They are young and they are scared, but time moves on and they seem to be just a part of the family, as long as they don't anger anyone.Selene is a wonderful narrator, she has an idealistic soul and through her we see Rome. I often say when I read books like this that I would have wanted to live there. But I can honestly say now that I would not have wanted to be a woman in ancient Rome. One of the richest women in Rome gives birth but the husband wants a son and throws the baby girl to the wolves. A beautiful free woman is put on trial after a rich merchant who lust after her claims she was a slave girl who got kidnapped from him as a baby. Noble women get handed over from husband after husband when their father's decided they can make a better match. No one asks the women, they are not free. So no, Rome has no glory for me, and I admire Selene who sees the injustice and knows she might end up just the same.She has hopes, she falls in love, she is idealistic and she is aware of her status and the danger she and her brother is to Rome. But she still lives, go to school and sketches. She is a wonderful artist with aims to be an architect and one of the great ones take her as his apprentice. She shows Octavian (later emperor Augustus) that she is worth something.This was a pager turner, I wanted to know what would happen to the twins. Michelle Moran keeps history alive and it feels like you are there living it, a fresh voice that makes it feel like fiction even though these are real people that have lived. But she does not just talk facts, she makes history come alive. She even had me near tears at one point.I highly recommend this book, it was beautifully written and even thought I have never really cared for Cleopatra, now from reading about her daughter I am suddenly fascinated. I am really curious if Moran has managed to bring her other characters alive the same way in her 2 previous book. If so then she is a true author of historical books and I want to read more.It's a story about normal life in Rome, about loss, about love, friendship, and a side story about red Eagle, who wants better life for slaves and to set them free. An interesting story and Selene wonders who he can be. I liked that twist to the story because it's important to show real life and not just hide behind palace walls.