Selene of Alexandria
by Faith L. Justice

Booklocker, 2009. ISBN 978-1-601-45813-1.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 02/23/2010

Fiction: Historical

"As she grew from a child to a young woman, Selene realized death was inexorable, but the urge to become a physician strengthened," writes Faith L. Justice in her historical novel, Selene of Alexandria. "Selene knew the main obstacle to her ambition was her father. No upper class man would willingly allow his daughter to engage in any profession."

Selene of Alexandria is pure fiction magic. Loosely basing her book on the life and times of feminist icon and philosopher Hypatia, Justice has created an enthralling story of a young, upper-class girl who wants nothing more than to become a physician. She must gain the sponsorship of the famous philosopher Hypatia to convince her father to let her study. Upper-class women didn't enter the professions; they became wives and mothers. Selene struggles not only against stereotypes, but also against the Christian city leaders. She is accused of witchcraft for practicing medicine, and her life is on the line. Can Selene overcome all obstacles to become one of the rare female physicians in Alexandria...and live to tell about it?

I couldn't put this book down. I love the way Justice mixed historic facts with her fictional character's lives, dreams, loves, and aspirations. I truly felt for Selene and rooted for her along the way. I fell in love with Orestes right alongside her, and hoped that their feelings would blossom into much more. I felt horror at the historically-accurate details of Christian persecution in Alexandria. Selene of Alexandria made me laugh and cry, hope and despair. I can't wait to see what else Faith L. Justice has in store for us.

Faith L. Justice lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has written award-winning short fiction and articles that have appeared in Writer's Digest, Catholic Digest, and This is her first novel. Visit her website.

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