Dear Commons Community,
Summer officially began yesterday and it is time to do a bit more pleasure reading. Yesterday, I finished The Visitors (Harper-Collins, 2014) by Sally Beauman. In this historical novel, Ms. Beauman combines real life and fictional characters to weave the story of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. It is quite an adventure and if you have ever had the pleasure of visiting the Nile areas where the novel takes place, Beauman’s descriptions will re-awaken all of your memories. Here is an excerpt from a book review in the New York Journal of Books by Lisa Wingate
“The sights, sounds, and tastes of Egypt as well as Lucy’s coming of age are palatable, compelling, and alluring as the history of an age becomes the history of a woman.”
In The Visitors, New York Times bestselling author Sally Beauman provides a slight but engaging departure from the thriller-like twists of Dark Angel (2013), offering up a sweeping tale of coming-of-age amid the swelter, glitter, and sun-soaked hues of colonial Egypt.
Blending period ambiance and weaving in social mores and historical detail of 1920s and 30s, Beauman’s latest weaves a plot in interlaced time frames as Lucy Payne recounts her life story to a young American documentary filmmaker who’s gathering the gritty details of the search for King Tutenkhamun’s tomb.
The era of discovery in Egypt is in Lucy’s mind the most memorable time of her life; she obliges, albeit reluctantly, in opening her scrapbooks and unfolding her memories, perhaps for the benefit of history or perhaps as a way of reliving, once again, the time and place that has both marked and defined her.
No event that would come later in Lucy’s life seems quite so significant as this one. Eleven years old on arriving in Egypt, afflicted with the after-effects of typhoid, suffering from poor health, a broken spirit, and a “foggy mind,” Lucy seems at first an unlikely narrator for one of the greatest historical discoveries of the age: the unearthing of the much sought-after tomb by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon.”
Surely to be read on the sand at a beach!