Chava and Urbi are best friends, despite the fact that Urbi is a royal princess with the world at her fingertips, whereas Chava is a Jew, and Jewish people aren’t considered citizens in Alexandria. After the death of Urbi’s father, she is thrust into the role of Queen of Egypt and renamed Cleopatra. Chava’s devotion to her friend remains, despite the distance growing between them. When Chava refuses a gift of citizenship from her friend, one that would demand she worship in the temples of Greek gods, her family is thrown in prison. Lonely and forgotten, Chava wonders why God has let this happen to her family. Eventually, Chava and her father are sold at a slave auction. She is purchased and sent to Rome. There she discovers a new meaning of friendship and works to keep her faith despite dire circumstances. All the while, she waits for the words of God to come true, words she heard years ago on the Sabbath, promising that she would bless Urbi and that she’d be with her on Urbi’s happiest day and her last.
Chava experiences a lot of growth, and her development kept me intrigued. Yet this book felt emotionally light, and I would have liked if Hunt had taken a little more time to “feel” significant events that occurred. Overall, this is a well-written work of Christian fiction which weaves in familiar figures such as Cleopatra, Octavian, Mark Antony, and others. There’s a great amount of research used to portray a life of opulence contrasted with slave life, and the tragedy of both social situations is brought to the forefront. However, I would encourage Hunt to dig deeper into the heart of her scenes so readers genuinely feel her powerfully-penned moments.