Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer

Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer

It is the first century B.C. Cleopatra, the third of the pharaoh's six children, is the one that her father has chosen to be the next queen of Egypt. But when King Ptolemy is forced into exile, Cleopatra is left alone to fend for herself in a palace rife with intrigue and murder. Smart, courageous, ambitious and sensuously beautiful, she possesses the charm to cause two of history's most famous leaders to fall in love with her. But as her cruel sisters plot to steal the throne, Cleopatra realizes there is only one person on whom she can rely--herself.


Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres and when you add Carolyn Meyer and Cleopatra to the mix you are sure to have a winner. I have enjoyed quite a few of Meyer’s books and this one was no exception. With stunning imagery, fantastic descriptions, and a wonderful mixture of real and fictional characters; Cleopatra Confesses was an overall riveting and thought-provoking look at the life of one of histories most well known females.

Cleopatra is a mysterious women and it was fascinating reading about her life through the years. This book spans many years- from Cleopatra’s childhood to her teenage years to her adult life. Many details are included and this was an incredibly captivating novel. It certainly inspired me to read more about Cleopatra. Especially concerning her family and later life. Not much is known about Cleopatra, but I feel Carolyn Meyer deftly weaved together her story and presented it in an interesting and unique way.

At the beginning of the book there was a family tree and a list of characters (letting us know who was fictional and who was real) and this helped put a lot into perspective. Each of the characters introduced in this book had some impact on Cleopatra’s life and all were well developed. There was so much I didn’t know about Cleopatra and Egypt that I learned from reading this and Meyer’s attention to detail made Cleopatra Confesses that much better. Plus, this was written in first person and allowed readers even more insight into Cleopatra’s thoughts. It is obvious that Carolyn Meyer did a lot of research and it paid off completely.

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is how I become completely immersed in the time period, setting, and characters. I definitely fell into Cleopatra’s story and I felt for her because her life was never easy; especially growing up. She had so few people she could trust and her own sisters were horrid. I did like her friend, Charmion, because Cleopatra needed a confidant and friend during the harsh times she faced. As I mentioned before, there were a mix of fictional and real characters in this book and two that really existed- Julius Ceaser and Mark Antony- were also introduced in Cleopatra Confesses.

This was the one aspect of the book that dropped this down to four stars. The book had me so captivated with Cleopatra’s story that I just gobbled up every detail, but the ending just felt a little… rushed. Everything was leading up to her adult life and I wish more pages were devoted to her relationships with Ceaser and Antony and her own period of ruling Egypt. I took a lot away from this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I just wish there were a few more chapters expanding on her loves and ruling.

Cleopatra is a very interesting historical figure, and although not much is known about her, Carolyn Meyer wrote a fascinating and insightful novel that brought her to life. Although I wished the ending wasn’t cut-off so fast, I enjoyed this book and it cemented Carolyn Meyer on my life of favorite historical fiction authors.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

June 7, 2011/Simon & Schuster/288 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Publisher (ARC)
Other books by this author: The Bad Queen


  1. I am glad to hear this one is good! I absolutely love historical fiction - this will definitely be a book I'll have to check out :)

  2. Thank you for the great review! I love historical fiction, and I have to give this book a go!

  3. Completely agree with you. I loved what was written and thought she did a wonderful job immersing the reader with all of her research, but...the ending was very rushed.


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