Monday, June 22, 2015

Pharaoh's Daughter by Mesu Andrews--Book Review

Synopsis: Anippe, as daughter of the good god Pharaoh, must marry and provide an heir in order to form a strong alliance between Pharaoh and the Ramessids. But Anippe has lost everyone she’s cared for her in her life to the god of the afterlife, Anubis. She fears death. She fears childbirth. When a Hebrew baby is found floating in the Nile—after the Pharaoh gave order for all baby boys to die—Anippe forms a plan in her mind to provide an heir without giving birth. Through a web of lies—including the Hebrew midwifes—Anippe tries to find her place among Egyptian gods, politic forces, and the god of her Hebrew servants, El Shaddai.

My Review:
I’m a big fan of historical novels. The synopsis of The Pharaoh's Daughter—the back story of the Egyptian princess who rescued and raised Moses—initially intrigued me. As I began to read, I felt unsure. I was suddenly thrust into this other world, this other time—one I haven’t spent much time exploring. The names were difficult to distinguish, even Anippe who gets four or five different names over the course of the story. The author does give a note at the beginning to bear with the confusing names and places.
    The story itself was good. At times, it felt slow and dragged one, especially at the beginning. Other times, I eagerly anticipated how the events would unfold and how they would connect to the well-known Bible story. I loved the rich details of the setting and time. It provided a completely different outlook on how the Egyptians lived and the upbringing of Moses as an Egyptian. This isn’t The Prince of Egypt.
    I liked Anippe immediately. Her tragic life—losing people, forced to do things she was afraid of, etc.—were inspiring. She isn’t a Hebrew who believes in God. She’s Egyptian with a plethora of beliefs and ideas about the world. Yet, I could easily connect with her fears: of marriage, childbirth, death, life, and being abandoned, left behind, alone. Anippe is real and relatable. I loved reading about her grow from a young age into the woman she becomes by the end of the book.
    Mesu Andrews gives note about how she derived the connections between historical information and the Biblical account in Exodus. I think it was a fascinating process and also reasonable for the story—which is historical fiction after all-she was telling. There are Bible passages before every chapter. While some of them fit with events within the chapter, there were others that didn’t feel like it made sense. But overall, it doesn’t take away from the story.
    I thought the book was good. Slow at some points, but magical at others. I was swept away into this interesting world of politics, religion, and search for unconditional love. I think anyone who is interested in historical, biblical fiction will not be left disappointed in this story. It does deal with mature themes such as violence, sex, childbirth, and death, so it is probably best for an older audience (though none of it is too detailed or lingering).
    This is a great start to a new series of biblical fiction stories by Mesu Andrews!

-Jaime

~I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.~

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