The Sacred Well

Written by Antoinette May
Review by Wisteria Leigh


The Sacred Well is the story of two strong women: Sage Sanborn, a fictitious travel reporter in the present day, and Alma Reed, a pioneering woman journalist from early 20th-century history. Antoinette May tells a story within a story with a sense of mirrored coincidences between two women who live over eight decades apart.

Sent to the Yucatán in 1922 by her editor, Alma is a part of a group of archeologists whose destination is the lost city of the Mayans. Her ticket of acceptance is a phony Ph.D. and credentials supplied by her boss. She knows the team will be her news source, but she quickly has the opportunity to interview the new governor, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, who is considered a man of the people. She is drawn to the charismatic leader, finding him impossible to resist.

Alma is given information which enables her to write an article for the New York Times exposing the theft of artifacts worth over two million dollars from the Temple of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza. Known as Mouth of the Well, this was a deep sacrificial well with a macabre history.

Sage is also on her way to the Yucatán sometime in the present. Her fascination with the legendary Alma Reed is somewhat monomaniacal. The romance that sparked between Alma and Felipe was renowned in its time; their love was fiery and passionate until tragic events separated them.

Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is a mysterious place that brings deep love and broken hearts to both Sage and Alma. May describes the landscapes of the Mayan ruins and Mexican countryside much as painter Frida Kahlo would have filled her canvases. Her rich historical novel should be savored slowly.