Saturday, July 19, 2014

2014 book 174

Sally Beauman's The Visitors
Some historical novels feel overstuffed with the research the author did--and some feel like novels created solely by the author, where all the historical personages feel like real people and the details don't feel extraneous. This is one of the latter, focusing on a young girl who, after surviving a bout of typhoid fever that killed her mother, is sent to Egypt, where she befriends the daughter of an archaeologist--not long before King Tut's tomb is uncovered (there is a lengthy list at the beginning of the book of which characters were real people and which are completely fictional, but all the interactions are pretty seamless). This is interspersed with the girl in the present day--now a 90 year old woman being interviewed by a documentarian. Beauman subtly raises points about history erasing women and children, which I really appreciated. In general, I really liked this, though would have liked to see more of the romance that was heavily telegraphed (and which was kind of adorable), and thought the (also heavily foreshadowed) contentious relationship with the governess needed a lot more development/explanation (I found it mildly puzzling). Still--really an interesting book, especially for history nerds like myself. A-/B+.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book is available now.

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