Nefertiti by Michelle Moran is historical fiction at its best. It is a novel about Ancient Egypt that hooked me from page one and didn’t let go to the very end. What a fabulous novel! It is rich in detail and history-it draws you into this ancient world and you’re able to see and learn so much.
The story is about two sisters, Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet (called Mutny by her family). At the start of the novel Mutny is 14 and Nefertiti is 16 years old. They are used to the finer things in life-they’ve always been raised in a powerful family. Nefertiti is to marry Amunhotep, the young pharaoh of Egypt who has his own set of ideas as to how things should be run and carried out in Egypt. The Dowager Queen, Tiye, hopes that Nefertiti will be able to have some control over his wild impulses. So, it is agreed on and Nefertiti marries Amunhotep and becomes queen. He also has a second wife Kiya who is a constant thorn in Nefertiti’s side. From the beginning Nefertiti is loved by the people, she is beautiful and has a presence that the people are drawn to. However, she is unable to produce a son-an heir, instead she has six daughters while Kiya does birth a son. She remains powerful though and eventually is named pharaoh alongside Amunhotep. Throughout all of these years though, there are plots being hatched behind the backs of those in power threatening to bring Nefertiti’s world crumbling down which is eventually what happens.
My favorite character was Mutny, Nefertiti’s half sister-they share the same father, different mothers. Mutny is wise beyond her years from the very beginning. It’s hard to imagine that she was as young as she was when you read how she was able to handle her sister and other things that happened within the Palace. Mutny has never been interested in power. She has absolutely no desire to rule Egypt or for that matter live in the Palace where she is basically a slave to Nefertiti. Nefertiti feels that Mutny should never want to leave her, should be with her forever watching out for her and taking care of her. Mutny, on the other hand, wants to live quietly with her love, the general, and tend her gardens. Mutny has a talent when it comes to herbs and turned into a medicine woman of sorts with all the women in the surrounding areas and the palace coming to her for sickness or to prevent pregnancies. However, even though Mutny yearns for this calm life, her loyalties lie with Nefertiti and her family.
I was completely drawn into the characters lives in this book, even the ones who didn’t have as big a part in the story. Michelle Moran manages to write so wonderfully that she makes you feel happy or sad for these characters-she makes you care what’s happening or going to happen to them. While this story is based on historical occurences in Ancient Egypt, she has weaved a wonderful tale around the actual facts. By the end of the story my emotions were so wrapped up in both Mutny and Nefertiti that I was sorry to see it end. It wraps up well though and we’re not left wondering about anything.
So much happens in this novel that it’s hard to cover it all in a review which is why this novel is so worth reading yourself. I myself would love to do more research into Nefertiti and Mutny, their families and lives and that of Ancient Egypt; I found it all so fascinating.
I simply can’t wait now to read The Heretic Queen which is Michelle Moran’s second novel. You can visit her website here and her blog here. And on that note, make sure to stay tuned because in the next few weeks or so there will be some interesting posts from Michelle Moran herself and a great giveaway so keep an eye out for the details on that.