Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge: A Book Review

Child of the Morning
Author: Pauline Gedge
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 416
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Thirty-five centuries ago the sun had a daughter: Hatshepsut. Youngest daughter of the Pharaoh, she was a lithe and magical child. But when her older sister died, it became her duty to purify the dynasty’s bloodline. She was to wed Thothmes, her father’s illegitimate son, who was heir to the throne. But fearing his son’s incompetence, Hatshepsut’s father came to her with startling news. She was to be Pharaoh, ruler of the greatest empire the world had ever known--provided, of course, that the unprecedented ascension by a woman did not inspire the priests to treason or instill in her half-brother and future consort sufficient hatred to have her put to death.

     This is the premise for Child of the Morning, based closely on the historical facts. Hatshepsut assumed the throne at the age of fifteen and ruled brilliantly for more than two decades. Her achievements were immortalized on the walls of her magnificent temple at Deir el-Bahri, built by her architect and lover, Senmut.


     Sensuous and evocative, Child of the Morning is the story of one of history’s most remarkable women.


     My Review: Child of the Morning chronicles the life of one of Egypt’s Female Pharaohs, Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut is the youngest daughter of Thutmose I. However, she is also his favorite. She is smart, ambitious, and strong. When her older sister dies, Hatshepsut is now prepared to be Chief Royal Wife for Thutmose II. However, it is clear that Thutmose II is not suited for the role of Pharaoh because he has no interest in politics Instead, it seems that Hatshepsut would be a better pharaoh than him. Thutmose I proposes to make Hatshepsut his heir instead. Yet, when Thutmose I dies, Hatshepsut realizes that all of her father’s dreams of making her king have been in vain because Egypt cries for a male king to rule. Hatshepsut reluctantly gives up her crown and becomes Chief Royal Wife for Thutmose II. When Thutmose II died, Queen Hatshepsut steps in and crowns herself Pharaoh. However, her stepson Thutmose III is determined to destroy Hatshepsut and take the throne that is rightfully his.

     I really love Hatshepsut. She is a strong female pharaoh. She is ambitious and dreams that she can help make Egypt great. However, despite what she has done for Egypt, people still want a male to rule Egypt. Hatshepsut can be arrogant, stubborn, and defiant. Yet, there were moments where she did not have any confidence in herself. There were very weak moments in her life and difficult problems that she did not want to face. Yet through the encouragement of her friends and followers, she eventually picked herself up and faced her obstacles head-on. Thus, Hatshepsut is a relatable character. She is a woman who struggles with tough problems in her life, but with her friends, she is willing to fight any battle that comes her way.

       Overall, this book is about love, friendship, duty, and responsibility. It is about a woman’s love for Egypt. In a world dominated by men, Hatshepsut acted every bit like a king. She believed that she was the chosen Pharaoh. Her actions astounded many men, and even her enemies admired her. I also found this book to be meticulously-researched, and Mrs. Gedge made Ancient Egypt come alive. While some information in this novel is outdated, I still think that this is a gem in historical fiction. I loved Child of the Morning so much that I have read it twice! Child of the Morning is full of political and courtly intrigue, romance, and drama. I recommend to fans of Michelle Moran, Stephanie Thornton, and Libbie Hawker. Child of the Morning is an excellent tribute to one of Egypt's most successful pharaohs.



Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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