Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton
Paperback, 448 pages
May 6, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received for review as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
“Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt...and sets her on a profoundly changed course.
Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Horus Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.
Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall....”
I was quite excited to read this novel – I have always had a fascinating with Egypt, and especially the women pharaohs and queens. I also very much enjoyed reading The Secret History last year and had high expectations for the author’s treatment of Hatshepsut. I am pleased to say that this book met all my expectations and then some!
Hatshepsut was an interesting character to follow – she certainly wasn’t a woman like her other contemporaries. I feel like it wasn’t just characterization, but that Thornton captured the essence of who this long ago woman truly was. She was frustrating at times – that is for sure – but she was driven to reach an ultimate goal – and she did. The other characters were all great as well – but Hatshepsut was truly the star of the show here. One of the things that I thought was excellently done, was that almost all of the characters were written in shades of grey. There were moments when they questioned everything they did, moments that they came off as the bad guy, and moments where they were pure genius. It made for a complex interplay between the characters that enriched the story.
The plot pacing was excellent – the twists you did not see coming, but after the reveal you could go back and recognize little hints here and there sometimes. There were little twists throughout and I enjoyed each of them. The romance plot thread I loved. I was so committed to the two characters and all the bad things that happened made my heart hurt. I can even say that I shed a few tears. I was a little ambivalent about the epilogue – at first I didn’t really like it, but then it made sense to clear up one last question that history has left to us. I also appreciated that as the reader we were allowed to be intelligent and be given the treatment of the Egyptian religious world. There were enough details to understand it and it didn’t feel dumbed down or overly explained.
I couldn’t put the book down – each page pulled me along and compelled me to read that much further. I can’t wait to see what the author does with the wives of Genghis Kahn in her next novel. I encourage you to pick up any of the works by this author.
Author Stephanie Thornton also has written The Secret History. You can visit Stephanie’s website for additional information about the book.
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I also have a giveaway for you all as part of the tour. It is for one paperback copy and is open to the USA and Canada only. The giveaway will be open until May 31st and entries can be made through the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
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