Review at a Glance: The Woman Who Would Be King

Title: The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt
Author: Kara Cooney
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Source: LibraryThing

Let me say, Hatshepsut should have had Cleopatra’s publicist. She needs the press that Cleo has received throughout the years. Not to tear Cleopatra down at all. They both are deserving of the attention so Cleo should have shared. There is not nearly enough out there about Hatshepsut. I vaguely knew her as a ruler who had her statues and such destroyed by the pharaoh after her. No details of her rise to rule or her reign.

I have a keen interest in Ancient Egypt. I have been since 6th grade and reading The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and learning the ways of the Egyptians.  I even went on to read McGraw’s other book on Egypt Mara, Daughter of the Nile. Through the years I have picked up a few Cleopatra historical fictions, glanced at a few non fiction books about the era, but somehow missed the deets on King Hatshepsut. Recently I did a little unintentional theme reading when I started a historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter then was recommended a book based on Hatshepsut Daughter of the Nile by Stephanie Thornton. After I finished that, I realized I’d had another series on my e-reader by L.M. Ironside that focused on Hatshepsut’s life before and even after her rule. Then The Woman Who Would Be King showed up on my radar. It was kismet.

In The Woman Who Would Be King Kara Cooney thoughtfully and meticulously lays out Hatshepsut’s life and even what happens after her unprecedented rule. I felt like Cooney did a masterful job of painting what life might have been like for not only Hatshepsut, but the people who would have been around her and their relationships with her. Hatshepsut is not portrayed as manipulative or as completely selfless, but as a human being who was ambitious and from all accounts a shrewd ruler who had her faults. It is too bad there was not a lot of diary writing back in those days. It seemed the Egyptians weren’t much for the drama parts of life because it would have been interesting to know more about not only her motivations, but also the motivations of the the people around her, like her steward, Senenmut; her daughter, Neferure; or her nephew Thutmose III. I usually consume non fiction as audiobooks and this one would have been perfect.

Antici….pation

Okay, I know. That title is terrible. I couldn’t help it. I have it though. I am highly anticipating a few books in the coming months.

September 

  • Festive in Death by J.D. Robb. I have been a fan of this series forever. A futuristic cop procedural with tough as nails cop Eve Dallas, it’s a fun bit of mystery. The series isn’t perfect (I have issues with how Dallas’s hubby continually inserts himself into all her cases), but all in all it’s a ride I look forward to taking. Sep 1.
  • The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire. Again, a series I have an obsession with. This time it is an Urban Fantasy with a changeling named Toby Daye jumping through hoops to have to deal with the always scheming fae living among us, specifically in the San Francisco area. I have a weakness for violence and snark and Toby delivers both effortlessly and joyfully. Sep 2.
  • The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison. I hate to get all genre on you all at once, but I couldn’t help it. This is the last in Harrison’s much loved Hollows series so I’m definitely in it to win it. More snark (much of it from a pixie who uses Tinkerbell’s name in vain), more violence, and probably tears as we say goodbye to the Hollows crew. Sep 9.

October

  • Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity by David Friedman.  I’ve been convinced for awhile that Wilde would kill at Twitter. Remember that weakness I had for snark? He was a master of it. Go read The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Importance of Being Earnest if you don’t believe me. And if he were alive today we’d be seeing his shenanigans all over People magazine and E! News. I also really love biographies of authors. Some of them lived lives that were worthy being as interesting as the novels they wrote. Oct 9.
  • The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney. I have this one on its way to me as an ARC and I cannot wait. I have loved Ancient Egypt since I was a kid, but mostly I got stuck in Cleopatra’s reign. Lately I’ve branched out and picked up a few historical fictions of others. yYes, I know not the same as nonfiction, but that’s where I start. I have a process. Cooney writes of the longest reigning female pharoah, Hatshepsut and her  struggles of ruling in a time when men were the status quo. Oct 14.
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. I have a confession I don’t watch Parks and Rec, but I did watch SNL and I read Bossypants earlier this summer. Tina Fey had a great anecdote involving Poehler that basically resulted in Poehler saying “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” I immediately wanted two things. One, a tshirt with this proclamation and two an Amy Poehler biography. To my family’s relief, I’m willing to settle for the book. I’m probably going audio since Poehler is narrating. Oct 28

 

What books are you anticipating in September and October?