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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance with a fascinating backdrop
I'm a Brit and know almost nothing about Mexico, the Maya or ancient Maya art. However, having read this book I now know a lot more and it's fascinating stuff.

This book isn't meant to be a history/culture lesson on the Maya and, for that reason, I'm not sure it was entirely successful. I imagine it's meant to be a romance/suspense story but that certainly...
Published 22 months ago by Helen Hancox

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3.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy but likeable
By the end of the first page I was cringing at the thriller-by-numbers set up, and had guessed the outcome well before the end but as a beach read this was fine. Nothing too horrific, or complicated, or taxing.
Published 10 months ago by Jomax


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance with a fascinating backdrop, 6 Oct 2012
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Beautiful Sacrifice (Paperback)
I'm a Brit and know almost nothing about Mexico, the Maya or ancient Maya art. However, having read this book I now know a lot more and it's fascinating stuff.

This book isn't meant to be a history/culture lesson on the Maya and, for that reason, I'm not sure it was entirely successful. I imagine it's meant to be a romance/suspense story but that certainly wasn't what stood out for this reader.

Lina Taylor is a part-Maya woman from an important family who is now an American academic. Hunter Johnston occasionally attends her classes but is a former ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officer now working in the security business in the US and Mexico.

When Hunter needs someone to verify some ancient Maya artefacts that his former colleague has unearthed as part of a drug shipment, he goes to Lina. He only has photographs to work from as the artefacts have been stolen again and his friend is getting the blame (although the friend is entirely innocent). Lina and Hunter look into the matter and we are drawn into Lina's world - her former teacher who now fancies her, her archaeological-dig-obsessed father Philip, her antiquities-trader mother Celia - and the family's position as descendants of Maya royalty.

But there are some bad people who seem to be following them and attempting to kidnap Lina and there is a worrying link between the artefacts, various dodgy characters and Lina's heritage.

As mentioned above, the power of this story was in its cultural and historical setting. I don't know what links the author has with Mexico and the Yucatan in particular but she did an excellent job of writing about the history, culture, language, traditions and artwork - so much so that I found myself doing some further research about what she said, looking up pictures of the sorts of artefacts she describes. She wrote about these pieces in such a warm, understanding way that it opened my eyes to this new (to me) form of art.

The problem is, that probably wasn't the point of the story. There's a fairly sketchy romance in there (man and woman thrown together find they are a good match) and there's a whodunnit aspect (why are people being killed? where did the artefacts go? what is the link with Lina's home?) but these two aspects, which I assume should have been to the fore, faded into the background of the cultural setting of this story. I barely cared what happened at the end, especially as I found many of the events not at all convincing and a bit too coincidental (although my lack of knowledge of the area/culture might be contributing to this sense of disbelief). Be that as it may, I felt as if the author were so in love with the history/art that she struggled to put her full concentration on the plot and romance points.

This was a good read which built to a conclusion (albeit a rather hard-to-believe one) and the author's writing style was good with lyrical descriptions and the odd flash of humour in dialogue. However I think that the main success of the book was not in plot/character in this case but was in various inanimate objects made of obsidian, pottery or just a bundle of rags.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book Helen Hancox 2012
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars alive with danger, mystery and romance, 23 May 2012
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beautiful Sacrifice (Paperback)
Romantic suspense to the nth degree is found in Elizabeth Lowell's intriguing Beautiful Sacrifice. The tale is laced with danger, Mayan history, morbidly obsessed south of the border aristocrats, and a torrid affaire de coeur.

Lina Taylor is a beautiful, highly intelligent Houston based archeologist, daughter of a highly placed Mexican family with a few black marks on its record. Handsome and irresistible Hunter Johnson is a Customs and Enforcement agent who is trying not only to solve some killings, but find the shooter who almost killed his best friend, and locate a quartet of ancient Mayan artifacts that first appeared during a drug bust and then vanished. There are all sorts of ways he can go - grave robbers? Drug lords who want to use them in ritualistic killings? Are they in the possession of those seeking to bring back an ancient cult?

Hunter and Lina join in trying to find the artifacts, which takes them on a frightening trek through the Mexican jungle and brings both to near death.

Lowell generously recounts Mayan history while she peoples her pages with vividly realized original characters and holds readers with ever mounting suspense.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy but likeable, 5 Sep 2013
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By the end of the first page I was cringing at the thriller-by-numbers set up, and had guessed the outcome well before the end but as a beach read this was fine. Nothing too horrific, or complicated, or taxing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storyline, 11 Aug 2013
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Excellent mix or erotica and Mayan history. Elizabeth knows how to keep the story moving and the readers interested all the way through
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mayan adventure, 5 Aug 2013
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This was an interesting read. Set on the American Mexican border and centred around the Mayan rituals. The novel is a blend of romance and crime and once you get into the story you have to finish. The jungle and city setting along with the characters are vividly described. The characteristic relationships are predictable but none the less believable. This was an okay read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars not for me, 3 Aug 2013
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I made the mistake of trying this after 'the kite runner'. I am afraid I managed 10 pages before giving up. In my view its just badly written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, 11 April 2013
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MrsW "Dolly" (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
I did not want to put this book down. It was exciting, mysterious and very fast moving. I've read most of the romantic/suspense books by this author and this is one of the best, looking forward to the next !
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, but not very engaging story, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: Beautiful Sacrifice (Paperback)
have liked Elizabeth Lowell stories in the past, some good ones with enjoyable studies of the relationship between the main characters. This is OK, but is a bit formulaic in the relationship and the plot is a little contrived.
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Beautiful Sacrifice
Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell (Paperback - 26 Dec 2012)
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