(Not) Recommended by the Reviewers Club

What the River Knows, by Isabel Ibañez

Cover of What the River Knows, by Isabel Ibanez.

This is a light romantic historical fiction set in 1880’s. It contains interesting facts about Egyptian history, including of course, the methodical and lucrative trade in stolen antiquities. Millions of artefacts disappeared, the majority of which Egypt has never seen again.

The romance was trite and long drawn out, with many repetitions of “on again, off again” scenes, but it did stick to sigs, kissing and the occasional passionate embrace, reflecting the time period. I certainly knew what the hero looked like as I kept being told over and over again. She drew him to make sure I was happy with her descriptions! (Actually, I’m being a little unfair as she was an artist). The heroine was plucky, determined to go against the norms of the day by sneaking off from Argentina, sailing to Cairo unaccompanied, pretending to be a widow, to find why her parents, who had financed an archaeological dig, had both died.

I had to make myself finish this book which I was not enjoying, and then the unexpected ending completely threw me. On reflection, I could not find where it satisfactorily tied in with the previous narrative. A most unsatisfactory ending. Did I dislike this book so much because it was aimed at a young audience? I don’t think so, as I usually enjoy good YA fiction and am quite envious of the choices and quality available to young readers today.

2/5 Stars