Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
I had heard a lot of good things about Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti all over blogosphere, and was waiting for just the right moment to pick the book up. Having read and loved Moran’s Madame Tussaud, I naturally wanted to read more by the author. So, when I saw Nefertiti as part of a ‘3 for 2’ offer in Landmark, I didn’t hesitate to buy it. The book didn’t disappoint at all.
Nefertiti follows the life of the titular character, right from her childhood till when she becomes the queen of Egypt and ends with her death. Narrated by the queen Nefertiti’s sister Mutnodjmet, the book is rich in detail and absorbing from the very first page to the last. I have been fascinated by Egyptian culture since I read bits and parts about it in my history textbooks in school. Reading about life in Egypt in the 1300s, particularly in the king’s palace, was, hence, a real treat for me. It is evident that Moran has undertaken considerable research on the subject, from the little details that she has included in the book, such as the design of Nefertiti’s birthing chair or the way her crown was designed.
The queen Nefertiti comes across as an extremely beautiful, extremely intelligent, extremely powerful and extremely ambitious lady. Throughout my reading of the book, I was in awe of her, felt sympathy towards her, hated her and loved her, for all that she was. I loved the way the author has sketched the characters of Mutnodjmet and General Nakhtmin, too. Moran’s writing style is beautiful, bringing the Egypt of the 1300s alive with her words. You feel that Nefertitit’s coronation as Queen of Egypt, her marriage to King Amunhotep, the political games that she plays, are happening right in front of you, as you read the book.
Nefertiti made me dream of visiting Egypt and of visiting the ruins of the palace that the queen had constructed, so very lovingly, for herself and her husband. I would also love to see the painted, limestone bust of Nefertiti that currently occupies pride of place in the Neues Musuem in Berlin, believed to have been crafted in 1345 by the royal sculptor Thutmose, and which, I later discovered, was Moran’s inspiration for finding out more about the enigmatic queen and writing this book.
There are some proofreading errors in the book, which I wish had been weeded out before it was published. I wonder why they weren’t! In spite of the errors, the book is a wonderful read, I must say!
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading this book, and would definitely recommend it to everyone who loves historical fiction. Go on, grab a copy. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, too!
The Ingredients Of Love by Nicolas Barreau
Aurelie Bredin is a beautiful, young restauranteur, the owner of Le Temps des Cerises in Paris. The sky seems to fall down on Aurelie’s head one ordinary Saturday morning, when she discovers that her boyfriend has left her. Her seemingly perfect life is shaken up entirely, putting Aurelie in deep shock, incapable of thinking what she should do next. It is in this state of shock that Aurelie keeps walking on the cobbled streets of Paris, aimlessly, and that is how she enters a quaint bookstore in the Ile Saint-Louis. She discovers a book by an obscure English author Robert Miller in this bookstore, called The Smiles Of Women. A glance through the first few pages of the book shocks Aurelie – the book is about her! The heroine of the book looks just like her, wears a dress exactly like one she owns, and owns a hotel just like hers! Intrigued, Aurelie stays up the whole night reading the book, which is a first for her, considering that she is a compulsive non-reader. The Ingredients Of Love is the story of Aurelie and her journey after finding this incredible book.
Who is Robert Miller? Why is Aurelie in his story? Does Aurelie manage to get in touch with the obscure author? You’ve got to read the book to find out!
I enjoyed The Ingredients Of Love thoroughly, though it is not the most perfect of books. It has its own flaws in the plot line, but is beautifully written, nonetheless. It had me hooked right from the first page to the last, and I was compulsively reading to find out the connection between Aurelie and Robert Miller.
The story has some very Bollywoodish twists and turns, and some so-not-possible-in-real-life moments. The end, as you near it, is quite predictable, too. That said, I would still recommend the book for the sheer reading pleasure that it provides. I found it delicious and fun, and hope you do, too!
Sam’s Letters To Jennifer by James Patterson
Sam’s Letters To Jennifer is about the bond between the protagonist Jennifer, a journalist, and her grandmother, Samantha aka Sam, who is in a coma. Jennifer revisits her childhood vacation home, Jennifer’s beach-side house, so that she can be near her grandmother. She discovers a bunch of letters addressed to her, neatly placed in separate envelopes that are numbered, from Sam. Jennifer is excited to learn that she is about to discover the real Sam, the Sam behind the facade of her beloved grandmother, and begins reading the letters greedily. Brendan, her neighbour, keeps distracting her from reading the letters, though, in a good way. Get the drift?
The narration sounded forced, at least to me. It felt as if the author has thrown in every possible twist and turn into the story, to garner the sympathy of the readers. I couldn’t find a connect with this story, and was glad to reach the end of it. I have read some great reviews of this book, too, though, so it could very well just be me!
Have you read these books? What are your thoughts on them?
What are you reading at the moment?