Scholastic, $18.99, 356 pages
When Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, the rulers of Eygpt, were overthrown by Octavius and died, they left several children behind. Cleopatra’s Moon, told by her daughter, eleven year old Cleopatra Selene, tells the story of three of these children. She narrates their new life in Rome living in Octavius’s home: alliances, enemies, love affairs, illness, and, as they grown older, attempts to regain control of Eygpt.
Author Vicky Alvear Shecter captures the culture of Egypt (and Rome) in every aspect of her book. Not only her descriptions but the characters’ dialogue and actions constantly remind us of the exotic cultures—both Egyptian and royal—that the children know. Readers will feel immersed in a totally foreign world. The book alludes to some unsavory sexual situations making the book more suitable for older teens.
The complicated history of marriages and wars could threaten to overwhelm readers but thankfully Shecter provides a list of characters to keep the players organized. Cleopatra’s Moon will appeal to many different types of readers. It is a page-turner both for those interested in ancient history and those who enjoy a love story.
Jodi M. Webb