Explore Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in “The Woman Who Would Be King.”

Explore Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in “The Woman Who Would Be King.”

Long before Pharaoh Nefertiti and Queen Cleopatra VII took power in ancient Egypt, there was a successful female ruler by the name of Hatshepsut who defied the usual tradition of having a male heir.

In Kara Cooney’s The Woman Who Would Be King, she details Hatshepsut’s rise to power. She was married to her brother Thutmose but failed to produce a male heir. He died young and she out-maneuvered her brother’s second wife for a place on the throne, which led to Hatshepsut being named co-regent for her nephew Thutmose III. Instead of regurgitating dry facts about the female Pharaoh’s life, Cooney weaves a fascinating tale that explores how Hatshepsut faced similar obstacles to today’s modern women.

Like women today, Hatshepsut too lived in a patriarchal society that did not like to see women rise too high and take over traditionally male roles. Cooney also illuminates how Hatshepsut was a master strategist and a fantastic marketer for her reign. Not only did she appear in male regalia in artwork, but she cloaked her political power plays in a veil of piety in order to endear herself to her people.

The Woman Who Would Be King adds that even though Hatshepsut’s images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, her reign was a long and prosperous one. Plus, Hatshepsut also set the tone for other strong-willed and politically savvy females in the 18th Dynasty, which included Queen Tiye and Nefertiti.

Whether you’re a fan of ancient Egypt or simply enjoy learning more about powerful, strong-willed woman, Kara Cooney mixes fact and speculation to create an engaging novel.

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