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GROUP READS > Cleopatra's Daughter Discussion

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message 1: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 15710 comments Mod
If you choose to read Cleopatra's Daughter for the Group Reads task (or another task for that matter) here's the place to discuss it.

WARNING: This thread may contain spoilers!


message 2: by Sheila (new)

Sheila (sheilaj) | 2244 comments I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about world history. Really the only things that I knew about ancient Rome and Egypt were brought to me via Cecil B. Demille but when I saw that Michelle Moran had written a book about Cleopatra I knew I would have to read it. I read her book about Madame Toussad last year and loved it.

(view spoiler) Fascinating way to get a taste of history. I give it ★★★★★


message 3: by Megan (new)

Megan Anderson (ms_anderson) | 1481 comments I read Lily of the Nile last season, so it's going to be very interesting to see how Cleopatra's Daughter compares, seeing how they're both about the exact same subject.


message 4: by Andy (new)

Andy Plonka (plonkaac) | 3404 comments The parts I liked the best were the beginning and the end where the author discussed the real people and places. The research she did for this novel was extensive and since I no zero about this period in history, I found these bits to be the most informative for me.


message 5: by Lois (new)

Lois | 1872 comments I liked this book fairly well, overall. Obviously, a lot of research on Roman history and politics went into the writing of it. It is a fascinating period of history, with a society that was strictly tiered; slaves, the spoils of war, made up a significant portion of the population of the city of Rome. Societal and political tensions form the backdrop and major plot lines of this story. Cleopatra’s young twins have been brought to Rome as captives after the fall of Egypt, and while they live as guests in the home of Octavian’s sister, Octavia, they are not free and their futures are uncertain.

This was a lot of new material to me, or lots that I had forgotten. The glossary of names at the front of the book was helpful, as the family connections among the characters were complicated with multiple marriages and step- and half-siblings, all of which played into the political intrigue.

I still do not really know why the name Cleopatra was spelled with a “C” in the title and a “K” throughout the book, other than one brief mention of it being disrespectfully misspelled with the “C” in some record early on when Selene and her brother arrived in Rome.


message 6: by Pepperypepper (new)

Pepperypepper | 14 comments I'm quite a fan of historical fiction, so when I saw that it was one of the genres selected for the fall challenge, I was really happy.
This is the first novel by Michelle Moran that I've read and I loved it. She writes very well and the book remains interesting throughout.Ancient Rome and Egypt really came to life.I'd definitely recommend it to others.


Theresa~OctoberLace (octoberlace) | 120 comments I listened to the audiobook, which I started during my Monday commute and finished shortly after midnight on Wednesday. As others have mentioned, the author did a good job on her historical research, and her fictional embellishments made it an easy read.

I would have given Cleopatra's Daughter 3.5* but since GR doesn't allow 1/2 stars, I gave it 3*. My reason for the 3* is in this spoiler: (view spoiler).

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran


message 8: by April (new)

April Though I didn't read this for the group reads task, I had read it when it first can out. I like Moran and her research. I had read many things about Cleopatra (one of my favorite times in history) (yes I have many favorite times/people) I knew very little about what happened to her children. Honestly I just thought Octavian/Augustus (like a new lion king) had them killed because they were to royal/political to keep. I mean we've all seen Star Wars. You should never let the son of your enemy grow up hating you. That's how you die in the end. (view spoiler)


message 9: by Megan (new)

Megan Anderson (ms_anderson) | 1481 comments It was...interesting. Comparing this to the other one I read last season, Lily of the Nile, I wonder which one had more truth to it? This book definitely stayed in historical-fiction territory, and I feel like it was probably well-researched. The other book had some fantasy elements to it with regards to the religion, but it also seemed like the author spent her time learning about Ancient Rome at the cusp of Empire-hood.

What really makes me wonder, though, is which book was more right. The events are almost completely different between the books. Yes, the twins were paraded through Rome, and yes, Selene ends up with Juba. However, the two books cover the same period of time (right before the death of Kleopatra to Selene's engagement to Juba), and very, very few of the events in between are the same. I'm not sure if that is because there isn't much out there about that period of time in Selene's life so the authors just had to make up things that sounded reasonable.

Cleopatra's Daughter wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great, either. I became a little more interested as the book went on, but most of the time I was somewhat bored, waiting for an interesting event to happen or something.


message 10: by Jayme VA (new)

Jayme VA | 789 comments I was horribly bored by this book, which was so disappointing. It was so popular when it came out and it was the only group read selection I hadn't read. I was really looking forward to it, but I could barely finish it. I listened to the audio book and the narrators voice began to grate on my nerves after a while. I ended up giving it two stars and will probably add it to the least favorite reads of Fall 2013 thread. Oh well!


message 11: by Deana (new)

Deana (ablotial) | 284 comments For the first third or so of this book I really didn't like it. Selene and Alexander started out as just children, with children's thoughts and whines and her mooning over Marcellus. I just didn't care.

But once the mystery of the Red Eagle came into play, and the moral debates over slavery, and the columna lacteria and her friend's child... things got a lot more interesting for me. I thought the suspense was going to kill me waiting to find out who the Red Eagle was!

I knew next to nothing about this time period. I had, of course, heard of Cleopatra and Antony, and also of Augustus, but didn't realize there was a connection between them (the only history classes I took were American History... world history was an elective and I had other things I wanted to learn... stupid self-centered education system). This book did inspire me to look up a lot of these people on Wikipedia and learn more ... but the author really did create most of this book herself, most of the known facts are very superficial and sparse. Who knows if Selene really was interested in Marcellus at all, or how happy she was or wasn't when her marriage to Juba was decided, or why she felt whatever she felt about him. I was disappointed to learn that the Red Eagle was not drawn from history. I -did- like that the court cases were based on real historical events, though!

I have to say I wasn't really convinced by the historical setting, though. I know at the end she says that readers may be surprised that people lived so well back then, but it wasn't the hot baths and schools that surprised me, but rather I felt that the people had very modern attitudes and views and I just have trouble believing anyone really held these beliefs and views.

Also I didn't find Selene's sudden pull toward Juba believable, or that he actually had loved her all along ... there was absolutely no evidence of that in the book and it just poofed out of nowhere. The author tried to pass it off that he was hiding it from her, and sure, I can see that, but I would have expected as a -reader- to be exposed to some glance of his that Selene didn't notice, or something to tip us off. Not knowing the history (I'd never heard of Juba and had no idea she would end up with him) I did expect Caesar to marry her off to some awful person.


message 12: by Susan A (new)

Susan A It was a times interesting. I enjoyed reading about the history. However, I didn't realize I would be reading about a child/young teenager the entire time -- not what I generally enjoy reading. 3 stars


message 13: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 3157 comments I enjoyed Cleopatra's Daughter, although I was flipping back and forth checking on characters family relationships. I think Moran did a good job of presenting a lot of information about a time and place that aren't well known to a lot of American readers.


message 14: by Marie-Anne (last edited Nov 23, 2013 07:01PM) (new)

Marie-Anne | 613 comments I know quite a bit about classical archaeology, so I liked the book. The author tried to stay as historically accurate as possible in fiction, and most of the historical facts are accurate or consistent with current archaeological data.
I read the author's notes at the end of the book, but the English versions of the Latin names still is really irritating to me, especially for well known historical figures. Why not use Marcus Antonius instead of Marc Anthony, Ovidius and Vergillius instead of Ovid and Vergil, etc.?
One of the other posts makes a reference to the spelling of Kleopatra/Cleopatra. Kleopatra is a Greek name, and Greek does not have the letter C. On the other hand, Latin does not have the letter K, thus all "K"s in Greek were replaced by "C"s in Latin.


message 15: by Cindie (new)

Cindie | 1722 comments This was a reread for me, one I really enjoyed. This was the first book I read by Michelle Moran a couple years ago...I am intrigued by MS Anderson's comments and I am putting Lily of the Nile on my TBR list...


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