On a wall of her burial chamber, Ramesses summed up his love for her as such: “My love is unique and none can rival her… Just bypassing, she has stolen away my heart.”
Michelle Moran is an American author who writes historical fictions. Interestingly, she always has women taking the centre stage in her novels.
This is Pharoah Ramesses II’s wife, Nefertari’s story. Even though she belonged to one of the greatest Egyptian families, Nefertari was called a heretic by the people before and after her marriage with Ramesses II. It was because of Nefertari’s aunt, Nefertiti who was hated after she refused to worship Amun (an Egyptian deity). After Nefertiti’s death, hatred was passed on to niece, being only living member of the bygone royal family.
In this story, the author makes you visualise the volatile political conditions in Egypt as Ramesses II had to constantly go out to fight and quieten the uprisings. On the other hand, Nefertari had to prove herself time and again in front of the people who disapproved of her. We also get an inside glimpse of Nefertari’s unstable relationship with Ramesses II’s first wife Iset as they both race to win the title of ‘Chief Wife’.
I loved how Moran carved the characters and the political system in the age of Pharoah. While taking creative liberties, she made this story super captivating. It wasn’t a lowdown of knowledge bombarded with historical facts, rather a story which was artistically knitted. If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory, you should definitely check this out.