4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN HISTORICAL NOVEL,
This review is from: The Sacred River (Hardcover)
Once again I must declare an interest in that I am the author/reviewer whose quote appears on the front of the hardback version of The Sacred River. However, I am writing this review because there is so much more to say than I could possibly encapsulate in those brief words.
Essentially The Sacred River is a Victorian novel that follows the physical and emotional journeys of three women who leave England to travel to Egypt. The reason for this journey is primarily due to the illness of the youngest - Harriet Heron - who has spent most her life being cosseted and constrained as an invalid. But when her doctor is persuaded that a different climate might be beneficial to health, she and her mother, Louisa, along with her Aunt Yael, embark on a great adventure.
That journey proves to be one of enormous significance for all three women. Alexandria is not only a place of spiritual beauty and ancient gods, it is also full of dangers; being on the brink of political revolt. Even so, it is in that environment that Harriet finds the freedom to grow and love. And there, through her sense of right and faith, Yael develops a consuming vocation for offering aid and education to the impoverished natives. And as for Louisa - well, in offering her daughter a future, Louisa will be forced to face a secret grief in her own past which she has kept concealed for years.
This elegantly constructed novel is redolent of a Merchant Ivory film - having that measured stylistic restraint beneath which their simmers the most profound themes and emotions. They ultimately lead us to a moving and shocking climax in which all three women will be transformed - in their past, their present, and their future lives.