Okay, I’ll admit it. I loved The Other Boleyn Girl (you can read my original review of this title here). In short, I thought it was a compelling and well-crafted narrative that brought to life one of English history’s most interesting, tragic and misunderstood personages in Anne Boleyn, through the eyes of her sister, Mary.
But I’m not here to write (again) about Philippa Gregory‘s first (and, in my opinion best) historical novel about Tudor England.
I’m here to tell you about a book I discovered quite by accident: Nefertiti, by Michelle Moran. I picked it up in the Calgary airport, just before a nine-hour flight to London, knowing I’d need something good to read on the plane (and a good thing, too, since I still had 7 hours to kill after watching the movie version of The Other Boleyn Girl!)
Nefertiti is the story of two sisters from a powerful political family with close ties to the throne. One sister becomes queen, and the younger sister must then serve her interests and those of her family, seemingly at the expense of her own happiness. But political turmoil boils just below the surface, and danger lurks behind every pillar in the royal palace.
Clearly, there are a lot of parallels between the story of Nefertiti and her younger sister Mutnojmet and that of Anne and Mary Boleyn. Right down to the failure to bear a male heir, it’s remarkable how the theme plays out; this time in ancient Egypt. At first, I’ll admit, I did find it a bit uncanny: the strong-willed and beautiful sister trampling heartlessly over the hopes and dreams of her younger sister in her single-minded quest to sexually dominate the king. It just seemed like it had been done before.
But I quickly became engrossed in the story and came to know and love the sisters, and realized that the uncanny similarities are not in the telling of the stories by Gregory or Moran, but rather in the stories themselves. Both writers do justice to the compelling tales of the remarkable historical figures of Anne Boleyn and Nefertiti and their younger sisters, expertly drawing our attention to the impossible situation of women in any age when men can hold our very lives in their often fickle hands.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction; if you enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl, then pick up Nefertiti. You won’t be disappointed!
This review was written by Kath.