Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what–but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery.
Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life.
Over the past few years, I’ve read several of Angela Hunt’s novels and I found myself enthralled despite the fact it had a religious fiction background. This is probably the first book that I didn’t enjoy at all. I’m honestly confused by the addition of this story as part of the silent years. Cleopatra had nothing to do with the silent years. Chava, is a fictionalized character whose personality is paper thin. Honestly, Chava is just a narrator to tell the reader what is happening to Cleopatra during her reign.
I wish Chava had been one of Cleopatra’s trusted servants. Perhaps that experience would have made all of this more interesting for the reader. Or perhaps, the author could have just made a fictionalized book based on Cleopatra without the Jewish tie-in.
Chava’s experiences as a slave were probably the most interesting part of this book. But even those fail to enthrall the reader because she’s a powerless woman who is unable to stop anything. Most of the women in Angela Hunt’s novels are strong women who have faith and a journey. Chava’s story is so tightly round around worrying about Cleopatra, that she’s not a standalone character. She should be the star of this book or Cleopatra should be. The way the plot unfolds, neither character is the true focus and a lot of the storyline is muddied with drama between the two women. This is ironic since Chava spends more than three quarters of the book away from Cleopatra.
Either way, this book does not belong to this series. It’s not a good read. I can recommend several of Angela Hunt’s novels, but I can’t recommend this one. Thankfully I’ve read books that were published after this one, so I know this is a fluke.