The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, by Bianca Turetsky


Perhaps because no one has described me as “fashion forward”, I was bored by the talk of outfits in The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, by Bianca Turetsky (2013, 256 pages). Also annoying to me was the fact that in the full-page color drawings which are a prominent feature of this book, the girls in their noteworthy clothes are willowy and beautiful, even if they are not described as such in the text. However, this story in which the main character gets to spend time with Cleopatra in Egypt, is so outstanding, I’m willing to overlook some negatives.

Summary from Amazon:

When Louise Lambert tries on a lavender Grecian gown during a visit to the mysterious Traveling Fashionista Vintage Sale, she feels a familiar tug and falls back in time, arriving at the dusty base of an enormous pyramid. She has landed in ancient Egypt…or has she?
It turns out that Louise is on the legendary Old Hollywood film set of Cleopatra, but her time there is short-lived. Rummaging through the wardrobe tent, Louise gets her hands on a pearl necklace that dates back to 51 BC, and she suddenly finds herself whisked away once more, this time to the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt. Gold and jewels shimmer in the Egyptian sunlight, but poisonous snakes and dangerous enemies also roam the palace halls. Louise quickly learns that life as a handmaiden to Queen Cleopatra is much more treacherous–and fashionable–than she ever could have imagined.
Louise is aware that she has the ability to time travel, having recently journeyed to the Titanic, and to Versailles in the time of Louis the XVI. She expects an adventure when she receives a written invitation from Marla and Glenda to a clothing sale. These women are the two witches who gave her the magic clothes that allowed her to take her other two time travel trips. I didn’t care for the Marla and Glenda characters at all, as they were very one-dimensional and gross (eating rotten food). Louise at first thinks the gown she has put on at the clothing show has taken her back to Egypt, however she is actually back on the set of the making of the movie Cleopatra, in Hollywood. Having the main character do a short stopover on a  film set, prior to going much further back in time, is a fun twist on the traditional time travel story. There is a subplot about a boy Louise has a crush on, and also one about her dad losing his job. The only result of her dad losing her job I noted was that he now had time to make Louise fabulous meals. This I found riciculous, and wish they had just left this subplot out.
Once in Egypt the story picks up steam. Louise is in the palace with Cleopatra. Everyone thinks she is a servant of Cleopatra. Cleopatra quickly earns Louise’s respect when she demonstrates how intelligent and brave she is. But there is great danger. Someone might try to kill Cleopatra at any moment. I found the story totally absorbing at this point. The author chose wonderful details to bring the palace setting to life. It’s sort of a shame that boys will probably not pick up this book, because the part of the book in which Louise is at the palace is exciting.

What I learned about Egypt:

 1. Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic family who were from Greece. She was the first one in her family to actually learn Egyptian.

2. She was married to her brother! (Eww.) But that was the custom back then.

3. Cleopatra experienced some serious sibling rivalry. Her sister wanted to kill her and take over being ruler. Egyptian history is rife with family members killing other members so they can be the ruler of the country. It’s hard to imagine how they could be so heartless.

I’m a card-carrying member of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday club. You can find links to many middle grade book reviews at Shannon Messenger’s blog.MMGM2 new
For an author interview, check out the Lucinda Literary blog.

About Susan

I blog about middle grade and YA time travel books. I'm the author of Time Jump Coins.
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6 Responses to The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, by Bianca Turetsky

  1. Thanks for telling me about this book. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. Janet Smart says:

    This sounds interesting. When I was a senior in high school i wrote my senior term paper on ancient Egypt!

  3. Very interesting facts about Egypt and the story sounds equally intriguing. I’m going to give this one a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. Pingback: Time Travel to Egypt! A List of Books for Kids |

  5. Pingback: List: Time Travel Book Series for Kids |

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