Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton


Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

NAL Trade | May 6, 2014 

My Review

Daughter of the Gods, the latest novel from Stephanie Thornton, tells the story of Hatshepsut, one of only a few females to ever rule as an Egyptian pharaoh.  Having read and enjoyed Thornton's first novel, The Secret History (click here to read my thoughts on it), I jumped at the chance to review this one.  Am I ever glad I did -  I loved this book!   

There is a lot to like about Daughter of the Gods.   The novel's heroine, Hatshepsut, is vividly portrayed.  Even though I didn't always agree with the choices she made, I quickly came to admire Hatsheput's intelligence, perseverance, dedication and sacrifice.  It was not difficult to understand why she is considered one of ancient Egypt's greatest rulers.  In addition to Hatshepsut, Daughter of the Gods is full of memorable characters whether they are figures central to the story or just sit on the periphery of it.  I particularly enjoyed Thornton's characterization of Hatshepsut's nephew Tutmose, her friend Aset (who is also mother to Tutmose), and her bodyguard Nomti. 

Thornton's writing is lovely, and her descriptions of Egyptian royal life and customs help to create a strong sense of both time and place.  I was captivated by Hatshepsut and the world in which she lived right from the opening pages.  Given few details concerning Hatshepsut's life and rule exist, Thornton had significant latitude to fill in the blanks.  Using what little is known of Hatshepsut as a foundation, Thornton has crafted a thoroughly engaging and entirely plausible narrative.  The story moves quickly, never losing focus or getting bogged down in excessive detail.  While the novel comes in at well over 400 pages, Daughter of the Gods doesn't feel like a long book.  In fact, I enjoyed the novel so much that I wouldn't have minded if it had been even longer.  

I noted in my review of The Secret History that Thornton's writing reminds me of Kate Quinn's, and that is still the case.  As I was reading Daughter of the Gods, however, I found myself thinking of Michelle Moran's Egyptian novels.  While I'm a big fan of both Quinn and Moran, after reading both of Thornton's novels she is now the one whose works most stand out for me.  As such, if you love Kate Quinn and Michelle Moran's books you definitely need to check out Stephanie Thornton.  You won't be disappointed.

Highly recommended to all fans of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy reading novels about lesser known historical figures.   I can't wait to read Thornton's next novel, The Tiger Queens

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher as part of Stephanie Thornton's virtual book tour, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Daughter of the Gods is currently on tour!  Click here to check out the tour schedule. 

About the Author

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” is available from NAL/Penguin, and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” will hit the shelves May 2014 and “The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan” will follow in Fall 2014.

For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


I'm pleased to host a giveaway for one paperback copy of Daughter of the Gods.   Giveaway details are as follows:

- Open to residents of Canada and the United States only;
- To enter simply leave a comment on this post including your email address;
- One entry per person;
- The giveaway will close at midnight (EST) on May 16, 2014.
- The winner will be selected using

Good Luck!

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