Last year I read The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace and loved it, so I was thrilled to receive a proof copy of her latest novel The Sacred River.
Twenty three year old Harriet Heron has struggled with ill health for as long as she can remember. She lives with her parents and her only real love is studying Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphics. She persuades a doctor to advise that she should travel to Egypt for her health and soon sets out accompanied by her mother Louisa and her aunt Yael.
There is a strong sense of mystery enveloping this novel and it is on the voyage to Alexandria that a chance meeting threatens to open up secrets that Louisa thought were long forgotten. This is where the book really changes pace and you can see Louisa’s panic and Harriet’s excitement challenging each other. As Louisa fights to keep her past buried, Harriet unwittingly threatens to bring everything to the surface through her new friendship.
I loved reading this book and thought that the setting of Egypt was very evocative – you can almost feel the intense heat and see the ancient sights that they saw. I was rooting for Harriet all along and she was, by far, my favourite character. I liked the way that Wallace brings a number of external characters into the plot and devotes a good amount of time to them - I was particularly intrigued by Eberhardt Wolfe.
This book is beautifully written and the description of nineteenth century Egypt is just mesmerising. It will definitely be on my top books of 2013 list.
I highly recommend The Sacred River, especially for fans of historical fiction.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.