The Book: I know I usually review or spotlight an audiobook for Thursday Tea, but this week I want to talk about a terrific book I read in print: Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. This is historical fiction geared to a young-adult audience, but it has broad appeal to adults.
I was especially excited to read this novel for a couple of reasons. First, the story is told from the view point of Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony (called Marcus Antonius in this book). Second, I read and enjoyed Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra (nonfiction) last year and wanted to know more about her surviving children.
Shecter delivers a well-told story that begins by summarizing some key moments in the young Cleopatra Selene's life. The heart of the novel, however, is in what happens after the death of Cleopatra Selene's parents: her move to Rome and her eventual marriage to an African named Juba. The historic details are accurate, and Shecter creates a believable account of Cleopatra Selene's life from a naive young princess to the eve of her marriage.
One of the things I really loved about the novel were the contrasts between cultures both within Egypt (class and religious differences, for example) and between Egypt and Rome. Cleopatra Selene had to negotiate these worlds from her position as a woman and her changing status from princess to captive.
Youth and adults alike will appreciate the extras to the novel: an annotated cast of characters at the beginning and, at the end, an author's note about Cleopatra Selene's marriage and a section that helps sort out the facts from fiction. Cleopatra's Moon is an accessible, easy-to-read novel for readers of any age.
The Tea: Oh thank the gods (the Romans had a lot of them) that the days and evenings have finally cooled off. I'm back to afternoon hot tea! The first tea I turned to this season was Adagio's Earl Grey Bravo. This is one of my staples--just right for a little pick-me-up. Here's how the company describes it, and I couldn't agree more: "The perfect afternoon tea: zesty and exhilarating fresh citrus aroma, slightly dry to the nose, with a rounded and balanced orange rind flavor to match the tang of the Ceylon. Pleasantly dry finish with lingering citrus sweetness."
The Assessment: As far as I can tell, Romans did not drink tea. On the other hand, Egypt had ties and contact with India--a fact I knew about and one that is mentioned in Cleopatra's Moon--so perhaps young Cleopatra Selene did have tea when she was a child, and maybe she even liked a blend that was similar to Earl Grey. Regardless, I definitely enjoyed my tea while reading this engaging novel.
What About You? What are you drinking these days? Reading anything good this week?
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Thursday Tea was the brainchild of Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.
Published by Scholastic / Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780545221306 Source: Review (see review policy).
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)
FTC: I buy all teas myself, I am not a tea reviewer.