Friday, March 13, 2009

Nefertiti: The Perfect One

The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.

Beautiful Nefertiti and her sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised far from the court of their aunt, the Queen of Egypt. But when the Pharaoh of Egypt dies, their father’s power play makes Nefertiti wife to the new and impetuous king. It is hoped she will temper King Amunhotep’s desire to overturn Egypt’s religion, but the ambitious Nefertiti encourages Amunhotep’s outrageous plans instead, winning the adoration of the people while making powerful enemies at court. Younger yet more prudent, Mutnodjmet is her sister’s sole confidant, and only she knows to what lengths Nefertiti will go for a child to replace the son of Amunhotep’s first wife.

As King Amunhotep’s commands become more extravagant, he and Nefertiti ostracize the army, clergy, and Egypt’s most powerful allies. Then, when Mutnodjmet begins a dangerous affair with a general, she sees how tenuous her situation is at her own sister’s court. An epic story that resurrects ancient Egypt in vivid detail.

Title: Nefertiti
Author: Michelle Moran
Series: Nefertiti, Book 1
Start & Finished: 11/29/08- 11/30/08
Published: 2007
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 480
Genre: Historical Fiction

Nefertiti is the vivid and compelling debut novel by Michelle Moran about the ancient Egyptian queen (and has sometimes been debated as being a pharaoh herself) who was married to Amenhotep IV and had six daughters. She wrote this "epic Egyptian tale" after visiting Nefertiti’s famous bust and being captivated by “the graceful curve of Nefertiti’s neck, her arched brows, and the faintest hint of a smile.” She wondered, “Who was this woman, with her self-possessed gaze and stunning features?” So asking herself these questions, she began to research this lady from long ago and in doing so, came up with the outline for this book.

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and yet it isn’t one I read very often as even though most authors do an incredible amount of research (this author included), I still find myself wanting to learn more! I have read stories set partly in Egypt before but this was the very first time I had ever read a historical fiction set here. The tone of the story and the way it is told from the minor sister's (Mutnedjmet) point of view, kind of reminds me of The Other Boleyn Girl but the similarities pretty much end there.

There were many terms in the book that I didn't understand and I also had a hard time pronouncing a few of the names (such as the name Ankhkheperura-Neferneferuaten that Nefertiti changed to during her rein) but I truly enjoyed this story, as it was simply amazing. The author embellishes and changes only what can’t be found in the history books and elsewhere or as to keep from being too confusing to make these characters truly come to life. When she researched the book, she did visit Egypt and read several books about that world, and she even relied on a few of her “contacts in the archaeological world” to recreate the “experience of everyday life and war” that these women had to go through.

There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the real Nefertiti and archaeologists are not even quite sure that they've even discovered her tomb yet. The author did visit one that is supposed to be hers and although it was very expensive, she said it was an experience never to be forgotten. However, Moran really brings this mysterious and iconic lady alive in this story. Often known as "the most beautiful woman in the world" and second only to Cleopatra in terms of celebrity throughout the western world, Nefertiti will not soon be forgotten either and Michelle Moran continues her story with her second novel The Heretic Queen.

Links: Author Wikipedia, Author Blog, Nefertiti Wikipedia, Mutnedjmet Wikipedia, Guest Post (Diary of an Eccentric), Another Guest Post (Literarily)
Interview: Questions I Asked the Author (Books & Border Collies), Loaded Questions, Peeking Between the Pages Q&A

Picture Explanations:
The famous bust
Hieroglyphic of Nefertiti worshiping Aten
One of the only remaining statues of Mutnodjmet, Nefertiti's sister.


  1. I find that a lot of times my favorite genre isn't what I get to read as often as I like. I am REALLY trying to change that this year. ;)

  2. Great review. I've really just started reading historical fiction and I've enjoyed what I've read. This is in my TBR pile and I'm anxious to read it.

  3. If you want more Egyptian fiction after Michelle Moran, try Pauline Gedge. She's awesome! Child of the Morning is about Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's only female pharaoh.


  4. I love historical fiction. It's so fascinating to immerse yourself in another period of time in history. Nefertiti was so fascinating daughter wrote a report on her in grade school. Beautiful review! I'd like to read this one.
    Thanks for another super fantastic review :)

  5. I'm so glad to hear that you liked this one as I have a copy on my shelves. I am reading more historical fiction this year then ever before and I am really enjoying it. Great review!

  6. I have heard such great things about this book, excellent review!!

  7. Great review Jen! I really enjoyed both Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen by Michelle. I love her writing and am really looking forward to her next book.

  8. I'm one of the few who still haven't read this! I think I'll really enjoy it when I do.

  9. Great, another book to add to by TBR pile and I mean a pile. :0)

    Also I just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award. It is the Proximidade Award. Come on over at see what it is all about

  10. I don't think I've heard a word against Michelle Moran's work. I've definitely got to get my hands on some once I manage to get my TBR down. Her books sound amazing.

  11. Great review, Jen! I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

  12. J. Kaye: Lol, this year I'm trying to read more of my other favorites, YA and classics lol.

    Bermudaonion: It is truly a remarkable book! Don't let the names discourage you :)

    Lezlie: I might just do that, thanks!

    The Chic Geek: Thank you! I hope you get to read it.

    Samantha: Michelle Moran is a great author and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel... sometime this year lol.

    Naida: All of them are true! Thanks.

    Dar: I haven't read the second one yet but it is on the shelf already.

    Nymeth: You probably will. She really brings it to life just like Phillipa Gregory did for English royalty.

    Pabast: Looking forward to seeing what you think about it! Aw, thanks :)

    Memory: It's truly remarkable but even the bloggers I would expect to hear negative things from, they even enjoyed Moran too!

    Melody: I hope you like it as much as I did!

  13. I am a big fan of Michelle Moran's writing, and also of her web presence! She spends a lot of time interacting with her fans which is really awesome.

  14. This one's on my TBR list - glad to hear it's good!

  15. I really enjoy Michelle's books. I am looking forward to her next book when it is released later this year!

  16. Marg: I thought it was awesome that she answered quite a few of my questions :)

    Mo: Looking forward to hearing what you think about it!

    Kailana: I'm curious about that one too.

  17. I've seen so many positive reviews of *Nefertiti* and *The Heretic Queen*, but haven't yet had the chance to read either of Michele Moran's books.

    The author seems like a great person, too, in addition to being a talented writer.

  18. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I loved both of Moran's books, and I'm anxiously awaiting her next one.

    Diary of an Eccentric



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