The Sacred River

Written by Wendy Wallace
Review by Beth Turza

The Sacred River begins its journey in Victorian England and then takes the reader to Egypt. Harriet is a 23-year-old invalid, and her doctor recommends a change of climate. Harriet loves Egyptian art and history, studying the books of hieroglyphics that her uncle left her. She convinces the doctor that Egypt will cure her. It is for that reason that she, her mother Louise, and her Aunt Yael set off on an adventure that will affect all three of them very differently. Harriet is naïve regarding men and finds that there are both artistic rewards and danger in discovering her newfound independence. Her aunt takes on a mission to aid those in need and finds that politics play an important role in her work, while her mother is haunted by a terrible secret in her past in this mysterious land that threatens to resurface.

These three independent Victorian women set off on very different paths while in Egypt, and readers are caught up in the mystery and excitement that each path holds. Readers will also be aware of the dangers that lurk, and I wished I could warn the ladies and steer them to safer choices. It was interesting to learn more about the political uprisings and the city’s social classes during that time. I enjoy reading well-researched historical fiction that can truly help readers understand not only the lives of the people during the period but also the social and politically charged atmosphere in the country where story takes place. Recommended.