Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Daughters of the Nile

Daughters of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter - Book 3) by Stephanie Dray

Publication Date: 12/03/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 576
ISBN-10: 042525836X
ISBN-13: 978-0425258361

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Trade)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Stephanie Dray on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Lily of the Nile (2011), Song of the Nile (2011), Daughters of the Nile (2013)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Daughters of the Nile, courtesy of the author's website.


Based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter…

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty.

With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind.

Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?


The final book in the Cleopatra's Daughter series, Daughters of the Nile is written by Stephanie Dray. This series has spanned the greater part of the life of Cleopatra Selene the daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. The scope of this series has been immense and Dray was certainly up to the task. She is a master storyteller with the ability to transport the reader back in time so completely, that they can hear the sounds and see the streets of Rome. Dray brings her series to a satisfying close that will bring a tear to eye and sense of loss at the ending of such a great story. A must read for historical fiction fans!

What I liked:

There are some books that are difficult to review and Daughters of the Nile is one of them. It's not because I didn't like it or because there isn't much to talk about, it's because I don't think I can do it justice. Readers who love historical fiction will absolutely fall in love with this book, as with the two previous books in the series. The characters are so strong and so life like that it is hard not to get drawn into the drama surrounding them. The setting is rich and vibrant and so full of all the things one expects from Rome and it's majesty. Dray is a born storyteller, a spinner of yarns and a teller of tales. She makes the reader not only want to read about the time period but to be part of it and experience it. This is one of the books that you just have to read to understand. This book can be read as a stand alone but I think I would probably cry if you didn't read them all. One of my favorite series of all time!

Cleopatra Selene is a brilliant woman and leader that is both fierce and protective. Throughout the series we have seen her a child, a young ruler and now a leader and mother. She exemplifies what readers would expect from a queen, yet she is human and real, her relationships are poignant and full of raw emotion. I thought Dray would have a hard time bringing this series to an end, but I was wrong. She brought Cleopatra Selene full circle and ended it how it should have ended. I couldn't have imagined it any better.

This book and series thrives on relationships. It may be a book based on a historical character, but it is so much more than that. Little is known about this time period in history, but Dray makes you think every single word of this story is true and real. She makes her readers invest in the characters and feel something for them. Cleopatra Selene is known to many but she has close ties with King Juba, her husband, her children and even a very tragic and unhealthy relationship with Augustus. Even the villain is this book has a soul. He is human and is both loved and hated. I thought that element of relationship was really what drove these novels and compelled me to love them as much as I do.

What I didn't like: 

Not one darn thing. Every single thing that happened in Daughters of the Nile from beginning to end was leading up to ending of this series, and though there were moments when I wanted to cry and moments when I felt proud and moments that made me happy, I never thought one thing was out of place or one word misused. That rarely happens in my experience as a reader and reviewer. I tend to look for those little things that don't quite ring true. I suppose that makes me a bit of a jaded reader, but a book like this reminds me that there are those few books that are truly five star novels and this is one of them.

Bottom Line:

If you don't read this series and you are a fan of historical fiction, you are doing yourself a disservice. It is an incredible read and you would kick yourself for missing it. It's just that simple. And I can't imagine what Dray will come up with next. That is a very joyful thought.

Daughters of the Nile is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this book 10 out of 10 and I don't even have that many apples!

About the Author:

Stephanie Dray is a graduate of Smith College, a small women’s college in Massachusetts, where—to the consternation of her devoted professors—she was unable to master Latin. However, her concentration in Middle Eastern studies gave her a deeper understanding of the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-centric religions.
Using the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today, Stephanie remains fascinated by all things ancient and has—to the consternation of her devoted husband—collected a houseful of cats and Egyptian artifacts.

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