Friday, November 18, 2011

Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine

"Whispers in the Sand is set in richly mysterious Egypt where the past and present collide. Recently divorced, Anna Fox decides to cheer herself up by retracing a journey her great-grandmother made in the nineteenth century: a Nile cruise from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings. Anna carries with her on the voyage two mementoes of her great-grandmother Louisa: an ancient Egyptian scent bottle and the diary of that original Nile cruise which has lain unread for a hundred years. As she follows in Louisa's footsteps, Anna discovers in the diary the chilling secret of the scent bottle and is pursued by the same terrifying spectres as her great grandmother."

my thoughts:

I'm very happy that Sourcebooks has been reissuing some of Barbara Erskine's titles in the US as I've had to shop for some of her older books in used bookstores and/or online from the UK (with high shipping prices!) So thanks, Sourcebooks - keep them coming!

Barbara Erskine is known for her fascinating historical fiction storylines in her books with supernatural forces and time-slip. However, I feel her contemporary characters and storylines are sometimes weak and often detract from the enjoyment of the novel. If she could work on getting the contemporary aspects of her novels tweaked, her books would be greatly improved! (The men in the present day can be condescending and chauvinistic, women are often near hysteria, and at least one character is certifiably the Most Annoying Person on the Planet!)

Having said all that, I enjoyed aspects of Whispers in the Sand, and the star of the show was the charming Victorian love story as told through a one-hundred-year-old diary. Erskine's descriptions of a young woman's experiences in ancient Egypt and the Victorian-era cruise along the Nile was intriguing and very poignant. I almost feel that the historical story could have been a stand alone book (without the present day story) and it would have been just fine.

Not Erskine's best and certainly not as atmospheric and suspenseful as some of her other books (i.e. House of Echoes), but still a pleasant read.

3/5 stars

Title: Whispers in the Sand
Author: Barbara Erskine
481 pages
genre: historical fiction/time slip


Misfit said...

I couldn't agree more. There is so much good in Erskine's stories, but her doormat heroines tend to bring the enjoyment level down a few notches.

Joanne said...

Hi Misfit -- I know you've recommended Child of the Phoenix as one of her best, and I do have that one coming up on TBR soon. Looks fabulous and I can't wait to settle into it. It's a chunkster!

Harvee said...

I'd love to read this historical novel - Egypt in the Victorian era sounds fascinating. It's on my list!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

This isn't my favourite, but I thought it worth the read. Glad you liked it, too.

I agree with Misfit -- Child of the Phoenix is definitely one of Erskine's best (if not the best). Glad to hear you have it coming up soon!

Staci said...

If you say she's written better books then I can't wait to read them because I really enjoyed this one!

Carole Rae said...

Sounds like a pretty interesting book. =) Great review.

Susan Bennett said...

Your header picture is way cool. I think it's the best I've seen.

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