I have always enjoyed Angela Hunt as an author from the few books I’ve read from her. Whether it be Pilgrims forging their way in the New World in “Roanoke,” or adventurers sailing across the ocean in “The Golden Cross,” I always thought her books were lively and interesting. “Egypt’s Sister” was the first Biblical Fiction novel I picked up from her and all I can say is WOW! This book had the perfect balance between history, an interesting story line and a great heroine. Hunt really knocked it out of the park with this story of ancient Egypt, Queen Cleopatra and the Jewish people living in Alexandria!
The story begins in Alexandria, Egypt where a young Hebrew girl, Chava, is the childhood friend of Cleopatra. Chava’s father is a tudor in the royal household, and so Chava grew up with more privilege than most. The novel covers about 15 years in the girls journey of life and through that time, we see two childhood friends grow to be completely different people. I loved how Angela Hunt developed Chava’s character. Chava began as the naive, gullible one who had a good heart and was slightly spoiled, but in the end grew to be wiser to the world and a hard worker. (On that aspect, I connected really well with her!) Chava’s journey was fascinating and I couldn’t put the book down as she went from Alexandria to Rome, studied to be a midwife and then went back to Alexandria to find her family.
I love history and so the historical part of the novel was of great interest to me! My knowledge of ancient Egypt and its rulers is pretty “beginner-ish.” I’ve read plenty of books set in different time periods in the land of Pharaohs and Sphinxes, but I’ve never studied the era of Cleopatra, and that made the historical part of this novel so interesting to me. It wasn’t like reading a textbook (Chava and her friends made it so much more interesting than that!), yet, I felt like I went through a major history lesson! What I liked the most? The history flowed so seamlessly into the story I didn’t even know I was learning new things!
And the end! It was soooooo good! I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that Hunt wove in a great theme of what it means to be at the receiving end of undeserving grace. There was a certain chapter at the end that made my eyes leak. It was completely unexpected, but so satisfying that the author chose to conclude Chava’s story the way she did. You’ll just have to read it to find out what I’m talking about, but when you do, you’ll know! 😉
Conclusion: An excellent read! “Egypt’s Sister” will forever be on the “keeper shelf.” This story had everything you could want in a good Historical Novel – it was interesting, full of historic detail and great characters, both “real-life” and “made-up” ones! It’s the kind of book you would recommend to a friend who likes fiction without romance. The plot is all about Chava’s journey during a tough time in Egypt’s history and focuses solely on her life. (It’s also written in the first person – and done very well!) I would highly recommend this book to those who love Historical Fiction, who are interested in Egypt’s history during the time of Caesar and Mark Anthony, and those who just love a good story!