Book Review: Song of the Nile (Daughter of Cleopatra)

If you've been an Acting Balanced reader for a while, you know that I am a sucker for a historical novel with a strong female character so I was immediately drawn to reading Song of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter) by Stephanie Dray.

From the publisher: 

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra's daughter is the one woman with the power to destroy an empire...

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.
The magic of Isis flowing through her veins is what makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra's daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother's throne be more than she's willing to pay?

My Review:
Stephanie Dray breathes life into both the characters and the setting in this follow up to Lily of the Nile.  In the first book, Selene is forced from the only home she ever knew in Egypt into the politically charged and intrigue-ridden world of corruption - Rome.  

As Song of the Nile opens, Selene is a woman on the cusp of major change.  Her magic grow stronger, as does her allure and the Caeser is ready to trade his captive for alliance.  Selene's power and destiny seem to be revealed right from the first page.  This book radiates with the magic of Isis and the characters leap off the page, especially Selene.

The journeys throughout the book test Selene and her beliefs, but also test the world she lives in and their beliefs... it's a great story that mixes historical fact, historical fiction and just a touch of fantasy to make this one of the best reads I've seen in a while!  I will warn my readers who have gentle sensibilities that this book does contain a scene involving rape and another involving incest, which may shock some readers, but I think that this author handles it in a fashion that is true to the story line.

Even if you haven't read the first book in the series, I think you'd find this book captivating and powerful and it stands alone by weaving enough of the back story throughout to keep a reader who is new to Ms. Dray's series interested and able to follow along.

I think it's wonderful that Ms. Dray has breathed life into a historical figure who is little more than a footnote in most books and carries on a tradition of using well researched historical fiction to share historical fact!

About the Author:

Stephanie graduated with a degree in Government from Smith, a small women’s college in Massachusetts where–to the consternation of her devoted professors–she was unable to master Latin. However, her focus on Middle Eastern Studies gave her a deeper understanding of the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion.
Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.
You can find out more about Stephanie Dray and her books by visiting

Disclaimer: I received this book at no cost to me for the purpose of writing my review.  All opinions are my own.