Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: WHISPERS IN THE SAND by Barbara Erskine

Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine is a masterful interweaving of three connected stories of ancient evil surviving through the ages to surface again in the present.

After divorcing her rat of a husband after fourteen years of patronizing, faithless marriage, Anna travels to Egypt for a trip down the Nile to follow in the footsteps of her great-great-grandmother, Victorian artist Louisa, as described in Louisa's sketchbook. Anna also brings along Louisa's old Egyptian scent bottle, which experts have claimed to be a fake, but which excites the interest of not one, but two men on Anna's cruise ship while awakening a long-dormant evil.

Vivid descriptions draw you right into the exotic sights, sounds, scents and searing heat of the colorful Egyptian desert of past and present, even showing the man-made changes between the Victorian period and now. The suspense never lets up as more and more of the malevolence surrounding the scent bottle reveals itself in parallel to Louisa and Anna, as their journeys mirror each other's.

I love the intrepid Louisa, who fights back against the human villain, malicious magic and the restrictive Victorian mores in her search for happiness. Anna is another matter. She's my least favorite type of heroine, the doormat. Given her history, I can understand her letting the villain bully her at the beginning, but she never develops. At the end, she is as much of a doormat as at the beginning.

Whispers in the Sand will keep you reading right to the last page to find out all the surprises, and Louisa is breathtaking. But the story would have been much better if Anna had developed some backbone by the end of the story.

Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks


catslady said...

I too love a heroine with some gumption but this does sound intriguing and suspensful and reading about Egypt would definitely keep me interested too.

Linda Banche said...

catslady, WHISPERS IN THE SAND is a very good story. But it would have been better with a better modern heroine.