Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer

(Cover picture courtesy of Small Review.)

It is the first century B. C.  Cleopatra, the third of the pharaoh’s six children, is one that her father has chosen to be the next queen of Egypt.  But when King Ptolmey is forced into exile, Cleopatra is left alone to fend for herself in a palace rife with intrigue and murder.  Smart, courageous, ambitious and sensuously beautiful, she possesses the charm to cause two of history’s most famous leader’s to fall in love with her.  But as her cruel sister plot to steal the throne, Cleopatra realizes there is only one person on whom you can rely—herself.

In Cleopatra Confesses, award-winning author Carolyn Meyer writes the story of the teenage girl who would become Egypt’s most unforgettable queen from her early years to her ultimate destiny.

This is not my favourite interpretation of Cleopatra’s story, but it certainly paints her in a much more sympathetic light.  It’s also more appropriate for younger teens than my favourite one, Hand of Isis.

Cleopatra Confesses is the first-person account of the life and death of Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt.  It tells the story starting with her unhappy childhood, where her sisters Berenike and Tryphaena taunt her mercilessly.  As is expected, the life of a princess and the taunts of her older sisters harden the young Cleopatra and teach her she can only rely on herself.  This transition from innocent child to slightly cynical teenager takes place gradually and many young readers will be able to relate to it.

As with all of Carolyn Meyer’s work, it is incredibly historically accurate without sacrificing a good plot.  She inserts real historical figures and makes them breathe, makes them more accessible to the modern reader.  And of course the best part is that Carolyn Meyer has joined many of the authors who are working to rehabilitate the maligned figure of Cleopatra and give her a voice after two thousand years of silence.

This is historical fiction at its finest, but readers should know that there is mature content including violence and sexuality.  Personally, I would recommend it for 13+, but it depends largely on the maturity level of the reader.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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