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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant.
Now, having read loads of books about Egyptian curses I initially thought 'oh no, not another one', but this is so different I forgot about some of the tat I had previously read:-)

Anna has recently divorced her overbearing and dominant husband and her self esteem is at an all time low that is until her Aunt tells her in no uncertain terms to pull herself...
Published on 20 Aug. 2010 by Pyewacket

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Die-Hard Erskine Fans
Barbara Erskine re-explores her favorite themes of obsession, romance, and the supernatural in this 500+-page novel told against the exotic backdrop of the lush Nile banks and the fascinating monuments of Egypt's ancient kings.

In 1866, famous artist Louisa Shelley, newly widowed cruises down from Luxor to Ashram. She recounts her travel adventures through her...
Published on 24 Jun. 2002 by Diana Faillace Von Behren


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant., 20 Aug. 2010
By 
Pyewacket "czarnowice" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
Now, having read loads of books about Egyptian curses I initially thought 'oh no, not another one', but this is so different I forgot about some of the tat I had previously read:-)

Anna has recently divorced her overbearing and dominant husband and her self esteem is at an all time low that is until her Aunt tells her in no uncertain terms to pull herself together and go on holiday maybe to Egypt to retrace the steps her Great Grandmother took on a cruise in the mid nineteenth century. So armed with Louisa's diary and a small perfume bottle also Louisa's, off she goes.

She spends a lot of her time totally engrossed in the diary and discovering that there was more to her distant relative than she supposed............a love affair with her servant for one........scandalous in those days. However, when two men on the boat start vying for her attention and then strange ghosts are seen it soon becomes clear that the perfume bottle or ampulla is at the bottom of it. This bottle belonged to a priest and is alleged to hold the tears of Isis which would cure a dying Pharaoh. However, another Priest had other ideas for the cure thinking it an elixir of life..........they fought each other and both were killed and then entombed without ceremony to lie silent until graverobbers disturbed their peace and also found the ampulla.

Louisa also saw these phantoms in her day and then met a man who dabbled in the black arts who tried to first buy the ampulla off her then finally threatened her.........the threat worked but not on her, sadly another loved one died.

I don't wish to say much more because this book simply cries out to be read but one more thing.............there are a couple of stingers at the end of this book which I did not foresee which made it all the better.

Well done Ms Erskine.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Die-Hard Erskine Fans, 24 Jun. 2002
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This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
Barbara Erskine re-explores her favorite themes of obsession, romance, and the supernatural in this 500+-page novel told against the exotic backdrop of the lush Nile banks and the fascinating monuments of Egypt's ancient kings.

In 1866, famous artist Louisa Shelley, newly widowed cruises down from Luxor to Ashram. She recounts her travel adventures through her paintings/sketches and in her diary. In particular she revels in the telling of a newfound love and his gift of an ancient scent bottle.

Now in modern times, Louisa's great-great-granddaughter, Anna, at odds with her own life, returns to the scene of her ancestor's adventure, bringing the diary and the scent bottle back to Egypt where their return initiates a chain of events which threaten Anna's very life. Feelings of greed, obsession,and jealousy stir amongst the passengers on-board Anna's cruise, but the main force unleashed whirls from the hub of the scent bottle, the contents of which is protected by two malevolent priests who drain the lifeforce of all those who come within the bottle's sphere of influence.

This particular foray into the supernatural is written very much in the more hurried style Ms Erskine employs in "On The Edge of Darkness". The characters are not as finely drawn as in her earlier successes, "Lady of Hay" and "Child of the Phoenix", nor does it contain the mind-chilling fear generated so frightfully well in "House of Echoes". Here, the frenetic state of the cruise passengers due from "exposure" to the priests and the bottle seems trite and a little too indignant to be considered realistic. There is a lot of angry repetitive conversation and a lot of toe-treading right from the start which in a normal holiday environment would not exist and could only be thought of as contrived by the author to suggest the dark behind-the-scenes workings of the priests. Even so, the events flow quickly and remain somewhat interesting due to the technique of interspercing Louisa's diary entries with corresponding moments during Anna's tour. One final problem---As the story runs on, accruing one catastrophe after another, it dies abruptly with no apparent ending or resolution other than an afterward by the author where we are told we like the characters must acknowledge the priests' evil and decide that some form of semi-unification amongst the book's persona will eventually and successfully combat it. While this ending may seem "real", it is nonetheless not a satisfacatory literary ending. The priests may or may not be subdued, nothing is rectified concretely and consequently,the reader feels taken for a ride with an appropriate destination in sight, but, alas, disappointingly never quite reaches the goal.

Hopefully, Ms Erskine's next endeavor will render a more satisfactory conclusion and rekindle that fresh interest in the unknown/occult that her earier works evoke.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars be warned - spoiler, 9 Oct. 2011
By 
Ms. S. M. Benson (london, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Kindle Edition)
This was the first book I'd read by this author and picked it up after a trip to Egypt. I was loving the book until I got to the end.

SPOILER

The author does not finish off the story. I was so frustrated at the end that I was tempted to throw the book at the wall! It's not a short read either, so I felt rather cheated that I had put so much time into this only to be left hanging at the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whispers in the sand 2??, 4 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
Anna, following a messy relationship embarks on a trip to Egypt in an attempt to retrace her great grandmothers trip in the 19th century. Armed with her ancestor's diary and ancient bottle, strange supernatural forces come in to play along with present day problems. There is no lack of atmosphere and easy transitions backwards and forwards in time. There is suspense and there is in depth character detail BUT the ending? Well to be honest, there wasn't one!.
Even the author attempts to explain the lack of any conclusion in an "Afterthought". Her explaination? "That she sometimes chooses to leave characters at a significant turning point in their lives"
While I consider I have a fairly vivid imagination and can add various endings, I don't want to! I want to read a conclusion after 572 pages whether I like it or not. For me it was like reading a "Who done it?" and never finding out who did!
A real disapointment after a pretty good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful escape into someone else's life., 1 Dec. 2000
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Hardcover)
I am a great fan of Barbara Erskine and have read all her books so far. I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite. Whispers in the Sand does not disappoint - you can almost imagine yourself in Egypt experiencing the smells and tastes there. You have to keep turning the pages to see what happens to Anna - and to Louisa too! My only small criticism is the ending - its is sudden, too abrupt. I thought I had pages missing at first. Otherwise another excellent read. How long before the next book Barbara?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK read about Egypt but not all that gripping, 13 Oct. 2006
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
This is the first book by Barbara Erskine that I've read, and this one was as an audiobook (17 hours) rather than a paperback, which can make the experience different.

Overall I was interested enough to keep reading, the setting of the book in Egypt today and of 100 years ago (through the two narrators, Anna and her great great grandmother Louisa) was very well written and it was easy to get lost into the world of Egypt whilst listening.

Anna, the modern-day heroine, is on an Egyptian cruise and takes Louisa's diary with her, which she has not previously read, along with the scent bottle that has been passed down her family from Louisa. The story of Anna unfolds at the same time as Louisa's - Anna reads Louisa's impressions of the places she visited in Egypt whilst going there herself. I enjoyed the contrast between the far less touristy Egypt of Louisa's visit in the mid 1800s, especially as this was before the building of the Aswan dam and subsequent moving and changing of many of the sites for Anna's visit.

For me, however, the supernatural element of the story didn't work very well. Louisa was given the Egyptian scent bottle by her Egyptian guide Hassan as a gift - the bottle turns out to be ancient and to be a relic that is haunted by two priests who killed each other within a temple 3000 years before. These priests are trying to come back to life and their essences are fixed around the bottle. They tend to appear and disappear again with regularity, giving Anna some spooky moments, but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of reason for the choices of when they appear.

There are parallel love interests in the story, although Anna's two beaux seem rather irritating initially. In fact, Andy, one of these men, is incredibly annoying and patronising and I found it almost incomprehensible that Anna continued to talk to him as the cruise went on. It also seemed rather amazingly convenient that another person on Anna's tour happens to have experience in Isis worship and has a mini Isis altar, as well as incense, with her on the tour. How unlikely is that!

Some people have complained that the story didn't properly end but I thought this ending worked well. You don't know what's going to happen in the future and it continued the sense of mystery.

Overall I did enjoy the book but I think I found it rather slow and turgid in places and the central theme of the book, the priests and the bottle, got a bit repetitious. Worth a read but not something to grip you from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sub standard, 17 Oct. 2008
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This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
I found this book extremely disappointing on many levels. Not least the ending!
Having read and loved "Lady of Hay" and "Child of the Phoenix" I decided to revisit this author and with a recent trip along the Nile I opted for "Whispers in the Sand" to reacquaint myself. What a let down.
The only redeeming feature of this book was that it relived many of my own personal experiences - excluding the magical talisman and ghosts, naturally.
The characters were flimsy, particularly the main character Anna. I found myself commenting aloud at her unbelievable reactions to things and complete lame persona. I appreciate that the author laid down the foundations for a woman with low self esteem and emotional issues but God, she was pathetic.
In fact the most credible part of the book (yes I am well aware it is fiction) was the sub plot and subsequent magical intervention of the ghost like protagonists from Ancient Egypt.
I plugged away, hoping that there would be a catalystic and conclusive finale.....but no to give me a sense of completion or resolution...or something. Sadly, not.
On a mundane note, the constant descriptions of what Anna was wearing was irrelevant and off putting. Considering she was a woman in modern day, in her thirties, regardless of when the book was written, I couldn't help but think the editor must be a mature or middle aged woman who wore cheesecloth herself. Who wears that?
In summary, if you are a fan I suggest you give this one a miss. If you are new to Erskine, read her earlier work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book...until the ending...or lack of, 7 Feb. 2007
By 
AD (West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
Never having read a Erskine novel before I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The detail on Egypt was interesting and linked in well with the story, and the two stories of Anna and Louisa worked well. However, this has got to be the worst ending of any book I have ever read. I had read 500 pages wondering how they would finally deal with the priests, for what, for it to be left to my imagination..what a cop out! The characters were hurriedly finished off or killed off with no explanation of their motives or actions. If the author could not think of an ending for the book she should not have started it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly bad, 10 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Whispers in the Sand (Paperback)
Having enjoyed a couple of other books by Barbara Erskine, I was very much looking forward to reading this one. I wish I had not bothered. It is not very often I have to force myself to persevere with a book, but that was the case with this one.
It was a rambling load of rubbish, with highly unrealistic characters. THe ending was as dissapointing as the rest of the book, as if she couldn't be bothered tying up all the sub-plots which she had laid down the groundwork for. I do enjoy books which leave alot to the imagination, but thats exactly what I wish had done with 'Whispers in the Sand'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the back cover...., 12 Mar. 2008
The gripping new suspense story by the bestselling author of LADY OF HAY and ON THE EDGE OF DARKNESS, is set in richly mysterious Egypt, where past and present elide. Recently divorced, Anna Coburn decides to cheer herself up by retracing a journey her great-grandmother, Louisa, a renowned artist, made in the mid-nineteenth century -- a Nile cruise from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings. Anna carries with her two of Louisa's possessions -- an ancient Egyptian scent bottle, and an illustrated diary of the original cruise that has lain unread for a hundred years. As she follows in Louisa's footsteps, Anna discovers in the diary a wonderful love story from the Victorian past, and the chilling, more distant secret of the little glass bottle. Meanwhile, two men from the tour party are showing a disturbing interest in these mementos, and developing an unfriendly rivalry for Anna's attention. And, most frightening of all, Anna finds herself the victim of a haunting, a spectral presence that grows in strength and threat as the dramatic stories from three different eras intertwine in a terrifying climax.

"Unputdownable." -MY MUM
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Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine
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