About the book, Daughter of Sand and Stone
Hardcover: 312 Pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (December 1, 2015)
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?
Buy, read, and discuss Daughter of Sand and Stone
Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring deeply human characters, with rich details of time and place. She is the author of ten novels, most of which take place in the distant past among ancient civilizations. She lives in the beautiful San Juan Islands with her husband.
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There are books that you read and think, “oh, that was a nice story,” and there are books that you have to sit with, and that sit with you. For me, Daughter of Sand and Stone was the latter, because it takes the central message of feminism – that a woman’s place is where she determines it should be – and frames it in a fictional telling of the life of Zenobia, Syria’s legendary warrior queen.
I could talk about the timeliness of this novel being published while Syria is once again in the spotlight of the world’s stage with citizens fleeing for their lives. I could talk about the way author Libbie Hawker showed us what daily life in the year 260 might have been like for wellborn women. I could even talk about the way even the greatest supporting characters were women: Zenobia’s mother and sisters. I could even talk about whether or not the ending of the novel, and Zenobia’s last major life-choice do a disservice to the woman whose story we’re following.
All of those things are relevant, interesting points but here’s what really struck me about Hawker’s portrayal of Zenobia:
She’s an educated, snarky bad-ass woman.
Okay, that sounds fluffier than I meant it to, but so many stories about Zenobia treat her like a legend and a goddess, and yes, she does have some mythical qualities, but it was just so refreshing to see this iconic woman treated as a real person. A dimensional person. A woman who is funny and flawed, who loves and hates, and sometimes makes bad choices. A woman who, but for a couple of thousand years of history, could be any woman in the world.
But the author’s version of the main character isn’t the only thing great about this book. The language is just beautiful. It sings on the page and makes you (well, it made me) walk around the house reading it aloud to my husband, my dog, anyone who would listen.
The language is absolutely contemporary, and yet it evokes a different way of speaking and listening.
Read this book. You will not regret it.
Goes well with coffee and spice bread with goat cheese and figs.
One lucky winner in the US or Canada can win a copy of Daughter of Sand and Stone
To enter: Leave a comment on this entry (include a working email address – only I will see it) telling me about a time you challenged authority.
You can also find my tweet about this review (I’m @melysse on Twitter) and retweet it (make sure I’m tagged).
Contest is open until 11:59 PM CST on Monday, December 7th.
Winner will be notified by email (or Twitter), and must provide their mailing address, which will be forwarded to the publicist for fulfillment.
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Tuesday, December 1st: Bibliotica
Tuesday, December 1st: Life is Story
Wednesday, December 2nd: Reading Reality
Thursday, December 3rd: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, December 4th: Thoughts from an Evil Overlord
Monday, December 7th: Luxury Reading
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Friday, December 11th: Book Nerd
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Monday, December 14th: Book Babe
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Thursday, December 17th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Monday, December 21st: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, December 22nd: The Lit Bitch
Friday, December 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, December 29th: I’m Shelfish
Tuesday, December 29th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, December 30th: Broken Teepee