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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Child of the Morning




One of the books you can win in my Motherload Contest (along with two others by thge marvelous Michelle Moran and an ancient Roman coin) is Pauline Gedge's Child of the Morning. So I thought I'd review it!

Here's the dust jacket blurb:

She ruled Egypt not as Queen but as Pharaoh 35 centuries ago. Yet her name- Hatshepsut- does not appear in dynastic rolls, nor is her reign celebrated on monuments. Prejudice against a female on the throne was so vehement that successors tried to erase all signs of her regime. Records and monuments were destroyed, the tombs of faithful ministers defiled. Similarly defaced were the commemorative walls of the vast and magnificent temple erected for her at Deir el Bahri by the royal architect who was her lover. And yet she endured.

This is the story of the young woman who assumed the throne of Egypt, mastered the arts of war and government, lived life by her own design, and ruled an empire- the only woman Pharaoh in history.


My review:

I read this book years ago and absolutely loved the richness and pageantry Gedge recreated. The story was meticulously researched from the daily facets of life in ancient Egypt to the actual events during Hatshepsut's reign. I especially loved the war scene where Hatshepsut really came to life. A woman at war? Fighting? That totally rocks!

My one issue with this book was that it was hard for me to connect with Hatshepsut due to the language used. It's stiff, at least to my eyes, which could be because the book was originally published in 1977. I prefer my historical fiction to be a little less stiff, but then I've had readers of my MS tell me my writing isn't formal enough for the genre. But overall this was a great read, especially if you want to learn more about Hatshepsut!


And don't forget! The contest to win Child of the Morning, Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter, Nefertiti, and an ancient Roman coin ends April 11th! Tomorrow I'll be reviewing Nefertiti!


So here's your question of the day: What women from history do you find totally intriguing? I, of course, adore all Egyptians, but also have a soft spot for Elizabeth I.

21 comments:

VR Barkowski said...

Such an Interesting question! For some reason Mary Shelley has always fascinated me. I've probably read every biography still in print. She's always struck me as an intelligent, level-headed woman who got caught up with a wild crowd. Plus, it amazes me that she wrote Frankenstein.

Also Catherine de Medici - Without her, it's unlikely any of her sons would have ruled. Granted, two of them were young boys. But Cat was one tough cookie and her husband was no prize.

Stephanie Thornton said...

VR- Mary Shelley is an interesting character- I've always wondered what was going on in her head to write Frankenstein during that time period. It seems an odd, but intriguing match.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oooo, good question! I love Abigail Adams - what a strong woman! I think my all-time favorite woman of history is Queen Elizabeth, though. :-)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Shannon- Have you seen HBO's miniseries on John Adams? They did a pretty good job portraying Abigail. My students even liked it- I showed them Episode 2 to preview some of the events that led to the Revolution.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I find Lady Lovelace, Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron, and the creater of the first computer language a 100 years before the invention of the computer. She was a mathematical genius and lovely to boot. Margaret Fuller was the first American woman foreign correspondent and a contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Both ladies appear in my historical fantasy, RITES OF PASSAGE, set in 1853. The two also appear in my contemporary Katrina urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.

If you hadn't guessed, I love history. Come check out my blog : WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS : http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.com/

Have happy surprises tomorrow, Roland

Not enough hours! said...

Long before Indira Gandhi was dubbed the only "man" in her Ministry, India has had its share of female rulers.

My favourite is Laxmibai, the Rani (Queen) of Jhansi. Technically, she was never queen- those were the days when the British had to approve rulers of their princely states, and they never approved her - but she was responsible for starting and leading one of the first uprisings against the British. She died in battle, after having fought long and hard, and was rumoured to have been surrounded by bodies of people she had killed when she finally succumbed to her wounds.

Gutsy lady!

Matthew Delman said...

Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, who fought the Roman occupation of the British Isles after her husband's will was ignored and her daughters raped. She led an ill-fated revolt, but still! A woman fighting the Roman Empire. How cool is that?

Oh, and Queen Victoria. She's incredible simply for having reigned over so much technological achievement in her 70-year reign. She was darn cool, too. Very British.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Roland- I'll have to check that out- I don't know much about any of those women. But it looks like I need to!

Not Enough Hours- Ohlala! Laxmibai sounds amazing! Quite a warrior!

Matt- I love Boudica too- there a couple novels written about her- Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle and Boudica: Dreaming the Bull. I devoured them!

Susan R. Mills said...

One of my favorite books was The Red Tent. I guess I find fictional recounts of biblical women fascinating.

L. T. Host said...

I love the Victorian era, but I don't actually know much about Victoria. I'd probably like to change that.

Also, I have a fascination for Elizabeth I, too. She was much like Hatshepsut, in fact-- a woman thrust by destiny and circumstance into the rule of an empire, with a secret lover-- WHOA. They are more alike than I'd originally connected before. Crazy.

Bane of Anubis said...

LT -- you could have a time travel book where they come together and meet the women of today -- like a female version of Bill and Ted ;)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Susan- I loved that book! It's definitely one of my favorites.

L.T.- There are a lot of comparisons between Queen Elizabeth and Hat. They're both super awesome, strong women!

Bane- That would be totally cool! Goofy, but cool!

L.T. Elliot said...

What a fascinating book! I will have to look that one up because I don't know much about Hatshepsut.

Cynthia Reese said...

Terrific question ... hmm, should I say ... no, maybe ...

Do I have to pick ONE???? I was always interested in Queen Victoria (as a young queen, not the dowager we remember from history.) And Louisa May Alcott. And the Brontes. And ...

Oh, shoot. Any woman who bucked history -- we have a lot to be thankful for. Have you read Cokie Roberts' FOUNDING MOTHERS? Fascinating book!

Tamika: said...

Like Susan I love the biblical women of our history. The story of Rahab, is one of my favorites. What a woman of painful stripes healed by the power of faith.

Libbie H. said...

I feel the same way about all of Pauline Gedge's books. Really rich detail, but I always have a difficult time connecting with the characters because the narration never gets inside their heads enough...or that's how I feel.

She's still one of my favorite historical novelists, though! You just can't beat her amazing world-building and WOW, all the detail!

In other news, I have a present for you, Stephanie! http://www.marriedtothesea.com/071109/heckler-mummy.gif

Libbie H. said...

As for historical women...maybe too many for me to list them all. I plan to one day write novels about the following, though, as they are some of my favorites:

Hypatia of Alexandria, the last curator of the Library of Alexandria. She was ultimately murdered by a Christian uprising for the "crime" of being an educated woman.

Queen Victoria. Her whole life from childhood to old age was amazing. She must have been such a remarkably resilient person to have endured the kind of weirdness she faced from all around her with such grace and confidence...though her rocky relationship with her daughter gives away some of the insecurities she must have felt inside.

Pocahontas had a tragically short but amazing life. I have always been fascinated by people who can speak multiple languages with ease, and the fact that she became an interpreter at such a young age awes me. The way she was sucked into Western culture and ultimately died because of it interests me, too. She was quite a woman!

Natalie said...

Too many to name! Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I, Eva Peron, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Eleanor Roosevelt are all favorites.

Voidwalker said...

I personally like Sarah, Abraham's wife, from the bible. She strikes me as an interesting character, in the 'women in history' category.

Voidwalker said...

I personally like Sarah, Abraham's wife, from the bible. She strikes me as an interesting character, in the 'women in history' category.

Amalia T. said...

I really don't know. Eve I guess is the closest, but that's still myth. I'm less about individuals than I am about culture, I think. Brynhild seems really... strange. If she was real.