Mara, Daughter of the Nile is a tale of intrigue and romance that will capture the imagination of girls twelve and older. Mara is a slave girl willing to risk beatings from a brutal master in order to breathe the air outside the compound where she lives and works. On one such outing she steals a loaf of bread and, while eluding capture, attracts the attention of two powerful men: one, the right-hand man to the true ruler of Egypt, the other an official in the service of the illegitimate queen. Both notice Mara’s native wit and grace and both decide that she could be useful to them.

Thus begins an exciting tale of political intrigue and romance in which Mara, desperate for freedom, allows herself to be used by both sides. Her resolve and intelligence are constantly tested as she meets one threat after another. Slowly she finds herself drawn to the cause of good. As her heart softens toward others and their troubles, she finds herself drawn to the righteousness of the pharaoh’s cause and, above all, to true love. Not even Mara herself knows how profoundly she has been transformed — from a fearful grasping slave girl to a woman guided by faithfulness and love — until the story’s exciting climax.

Eloise Jarvis McGraw tells a riveting tale as she paints an accurate picture of ancient Egyptian life centered in the palace. Like her other book for this age group, The Golden Goblet, this story details the daily life of many groups in Egyptian society. Mara is perhaps more of a page turner, but both books are superior examples of historical fiction for young people and would augment well a study of ancient civilizations.

Margaret Hannon is a homeschooling mother.  She and her husband live in Bolton, MA with five of their eight children.