I don't even know where I heard about Nefertiti by Michelle Moran first, I read so many glowing reviews of it from other book blogs. It is the story of Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, the unstable crown prince and future pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper his heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods. But Nefertiti is as impetuous and power-hungry as her husband, and the only person brave (or foolish) enough to speak the truth to the queen and try to reign her in is Mutnodjmet.
I really enjoyed Nefertiti. It reminded me a lot of The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - one sister scheming to become (and stay) Queen, one yearning for a simple life with a husband who loves her. Despite the book's name, this story is about Mutnodjmet. Fortunately, she is a very well-rounded character and, while Nefertiti occasionally verged into a caricature, even her life felt pretty real to me.
I was surprised by how moving and sad I found this book to be. From what little I know of Egyptian history, I knew not to expect happily ever after for the main characters. But I didn't expect to be so moved by the emotions the characters felt. This is a strong work of historical fiction, and I look forward to reading the sequel, The Heretic Queen.
Buy Nefertiti: A Novel on Amazon.
PS: I just read Raych's review of Nefertiti. We're in agreement on the whole The Other Boleyn Girl set in Egypt thing, but, as usual, she wrote a much funnier review. Go read it.