I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker
Publication Date: Dec. 1, 2015
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“3* – I Liked It! – Daughter of Sand and Stone is a unique and rich historical fiction novel set in ancient Syria. I loved seeing Zenobia as a young adult and watching her face the political war and the war within herself as she becomes the Queen she is destined to be. How much will Zenobia sacrifice for the power she seeks or her beloved city?
“When Zenobia takes control of her own fate, will the gods punish her audacity?
Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry against her will. She won’t submit to a lifetime of subservience. When her father dies, she sets out on her own, pursuing the power she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne.
Defying her family, Zenobia arranges her own marriage to the most influential man in the city of Palmyra. But their union is anything but peaceful—his other wife begrudges the marriage and the birth of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia finds herself ever more drawn to her guardsman, Zabdas. As war breaks out, she’s faced with terrible choices.
From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for power, for love, and for her son. But will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she learn a “woman’s place,” or can she finally stake her claim as Empress of the East?”
Zenobia, the youngest daughter of the Amalqi chief, is one of those gutsy, no-holds barred characters that you can’t help but love in spite of themselves. She shatters the glass ceiling of her culture’s expectations in this atmospheric and rich historical fiction novel. With Dido and Cleopatra as her queens of inspiration, Zenobia sees no reason why she can’t take charge of the situation.
I loved seeing Zenobia as a young adult and watching her face the political war and the war within herself as she becomes the Queen she is destined to be. Besides her guard, Zabdas, who earns Zenobia’s respect, the other characters were not as endearing to me, Zenobia drives the book. Zenobia very much reminded me of Coco Chanel as depicted in Mademoiselle Chanel, one of my favorite historical fiction novels of the year. Chanel is another strong real life female character who took her drive and rebellious nature and turned it into a fashion empire.
I loved the dynamic and relationships between the characters. Because of her devotion to her city, Zenobia chooses an influential man for her husband when there’s another clearly devoted and in love with her. How much will Zenobia sacrifice for the power she seeks for the city of her devotion?
Set in ancient Syria, I enjoyed learning about a time period and culture I knew not much about. Libbie Hawker hooked me from the beginning with a lot of action up front. We see Zenobia do things that appall and amaze herself. I should have paid closer attention to all the ethnic groups involved as I was easily confused by the parts discussing the strategy of war. I quickly got over it and caught up when the action took over once again.
What I love about historical fiction is when the book makes me want to learn more about the time period, the culture or the characters involved and the Daughter of Sand and Stone delivered in that regard. I enjoy trying to figure out what in the book is historically accurate and what parts the author is exercising her creative license. Zenobia is a great character amd i definitely want to read more about her in fiction and nonfiction .Overall, Daughter of Sand and Stone is a great choice for readers who enjoy stories of rebellion and empowerment, lots of historical detail, action and escaping to the vast desert of ancient cultures.
Palmyra, ancient Syria for the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge
Books Like This You Might Enjoy:
Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner – 5*, historical fiction about Coco Chanel who broke the gender barriers of her time
The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann – 4*, historical mystery set in 16th century Japan
Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen – 5*, historical fiction & forbidden love story set in Maharaja’s palace during India’s independence from Britain
TLC Book Tours is letting me give away one copy of this unique book! Open to US/Canada residents only, giveaway ends 12/23/15 at 11:59pm EST . Simply leave a comment why you’d like to read this book or what other historical fiction you’ve enjoyed. Be sure to include your email address in the comment form so I can contact you if you win. Earn an extra entry if you tweet the following and copy/paste a link to your tweet in the comments too. I will choose a random winner from the comments below and contact the winner at the email provided. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email before another winner will be chosen.
[bctt tweet=”#Win DAUGHTER OF SAND & STONE by #LibbieHawker and see Zenobia before she was a queen. #historicalfiction”]
What books have you read about the ancient East? Talk to me about the good books you’re reading and as always, happy reading!