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Secret of the Sands Paperback – 3 Feb 2011
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Praise for Secrets of the Sands:
‘This well-paced story brings the perfumes and landscape of Arabia shimmeringly to life.’ -- The Daily Mail
‘A thoroughly enjoyable read. Recommended.’ -- bookbag.co.uk
'Secret of the Sands is distinguished from other genre offerings by the care paid to historical detail.' -- Financial Times
Sheridan's last novel, the Secret Mandarin, was our top historical romance of 2009. Meticulously researched and rich in period details, Secret of the Sands is on course to be the favourite of 2011. -- Daily Record
Praise for The Secret Mandarin:
‘A truly sumptuous, action-packed Oriental adventure that might just be our favourite historical romance of the year.’ -- Daily Record
‘An enchanting story that draws you in… perfect for whiling away the hours on a rainy day.’ -- Closer
‘If you like mystery, history, love and adventure then this book is for you!’ -- Scottish Home & Country
‘A very enjoyable voyage to the Far East.’ -- Weekly News
About the Author
Sara Sheridan is an historical novelist who writes two different kinds of books. One is a series of cosy crime noir mysteries set in Brighton in the 1950s – Brighton Belle – and the other is a set of novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers and adventurers (1820 – 1845) – The Secret Mandarin and Secret of the Sands. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She received a Scottish Library Award for Truth or Dare, her first novel, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. An occasional journalist and blogger, Sara appears on BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and blogs for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. She is a twitter evangelist and a self-confessed swot. Sara sits on the Committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland where she lives and also on the board of the UK-wide writers' collective '26' and took part in the acclaimed 26 Treasures project in 2010 at the V&A, in 2011 at National
Museum of Scotland and in 2012 at the Children's Museum, Bethnal Green.
She is a member of the Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers
Association. Sara also mentors for the Scottish Book Trust.
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Hearing that three letters, written by James Wellstead and held in the John Murray archive at the National Library of Scotland, inspired Sara Sheridan to write Secret of the Sands, piqued my interest in this book. I wanted to see how the author handled a novel which was centred around a real person and what she knew about him from his letters and journals but which was also a fictional imagining.
After reading a few pages, it became clear that James Wellstead was in extremely capable hands. Sara Sheridan is a consummate storyteller, moving from Abyssinia to London to Bombay to Muscat and into the desert or along the Arabian coast with ease. She conjures each place with its accompanying sights, sounds and smells, so that you feel as if you are right there, and then peoples it with a diverse range of characters. I admired the central characters of Wellstead and Zena, who may come from totally different backgrounds but who both find the strength to adapt to their environment and devise ways of coping with whatever trials and hardships they have to face. I practically cheered every attempt of Wellstead's to understand and learn about the country, its people and customs, which was in stark contrast to the attitude shown by his fellow British officers. I smiled and urged Zena on in her subtle shows of defiance. I also grew fond of the captive Doctor Jessop, as well as the Arabian Mr Fix-It, Mickey and his wife, Farida.
Secret of the Sands is wonderful storytelling and was such a captivating read that I felt as if someone were sitting beside me, whispering the story to me, while watching it unfold in front of us.