When I signed up to read Cleopatra A Life by Stacy Schiff, I have to admit I had some doubts that I would be able to get through the book. Biographies are not one of my favorite genres, and a historical biography? I had never even read one before.
It was a little difficult at first getting into the tone of a historical biography but after a few chapters, you could say I had “gotten it”! Stacey Schiff makes it easy as she writes more for the common person than the historian. I was quite impressed with Ms. Schiff herself as she has written biographies on Benjamin Franklin and has even won a Pulitzer Prize for her biography Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov). When I think of an historical biographer author I am more apt to think of an aging college professor. Ms. Schiff looks more like a model. She definitely breaks that stereotype wide open!
Cleopatra is one of those iconic figures in history where everyone thinks they know about her, but what everyone thinks they know has been gleaned from William Shakespeare or Elizabeth Taylor, and not actually historical fact. The author even admits that indeed, there is not a lot of facts on Cleopatra and someone who takes on the Egyptian Queen has to sort through even the history written while she lived, trying to recognize fact from fiction. It seems even back in 29 BC Egypt and Rome had their own versions of Perez Hilton and Rush Limbaugh. Ms. Schiff does an admirable job of filling in the blanks and is honest that there is some speculation on her part.
As I got into the book I found myself reading it as if it were a novel that you can’t wait to find out how it ends. I knew Cleopatra died, of course, but did not know the real particulars of it. Do not let the “biography” classification of this book stop you from reading it. Romance, sex, deceit, betrayal…this book has it all, although if you are looking for Danielle Steele, this isn’t your type of book.
Would you like to win a gently used copy of Cleopatra A Life? Entering is easy and you have three chances to win:
1. Leave a comment below.
2. Tweet out the contest.
3. Post this contest on your Facebook wall.
If you tweet and Facebook the contest, please let me know by leaving two more entries. In other words, if you have commented, Tweeted and Facebooked, you will have THREE separate entries.
The contest will end on Tuesday, October 18th at 11:59 p.m. EST. A winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
Congratulations to Joy, winner of Cleopatra A Life. Her number, #2, was chosen by the very random asking my husband to pick a number: 1, 2, or 3! This is a great book that whether or not you buy or borrow, will not disappoint you!