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To Breathe the Breath of Isis Kindle Edition
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|Length: 393 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Lord Bruton is shocked and baffled when a woman is found on his dig site. At first he's not sure what to think but after spending much time with her he finds he'll do anything to not only keep her safe but by his side.
Marguerite has woken up to find her self unable to remember anything except that she has come to see Robert. Now at the mercy of others she is try to find out who she is, where she came from and why so many others seem to be after her.
As followers of my reviews will note, I have a soft spot for books that mash up genres. And when history is added to the mix? It's like birthday cake and ice cream and coffee all in one.
The recipe for "To Breathe the Breath of Isis" would include the following: mythology, history, love, adventure, romance, time travel, destined souls, and breath-taking landscapes.
The story opens in pre-WWI Egypt. British noble, Lord Bruton is a passionate Egyptologist in search of the tomb of legendary Queen Tiye of the 18th dynasty. While discovering several artifacts and sites linked with the Queen, true traces of her existence seem to escape him. In the midst of his projects, a mysterious woman is discovered passed out amongst the excavations. Marguerite is more than just beautiful face which invites the desire of all who behold her, however, she's intriguing. She refuses to conform to any of the expectations Bruton holds for the ways and manners of a proper lady, and despite his initial displeasure with that fact, the mystery of exactly how she came to be in the midst of Egypt without a clue of how she got there, for whom or what she came, or of any idea who she even is beyond her name, ignites in Bruton a fascination and preoccupation with the American. As bits of Marguerite's past dot the perimeters of her memories, it becomes painfully clear that Bruton and she share a deep connection, one tied to the legend of Queen Tiye herself, and harbored in the curse of a beautiful silver necklace that has found its way through time from the Pharaoh's favorite wife across thousands of years to Marguerite. No sooner have the couple come to accept their fate to be lovers, than the modern world pulls Marguerite back into its clutches, sending Bruton on a race against and with time to rescue her from peril.
There's just so much good going on with this story, that it was a delightful, refreshing breath of fresh air (no pun intended) to read. There is a driving romance which underwrites the capital in this book, but there's plenty of adventure and intrigue as well that one never feels, as is so often the case in romance, that the only purpose of the story is to get the hero and the heroine to hook up. [Don't be misled by this statement, however. There are plenty of swoon-worthy passages and for the reader inclined to fall in love with fictional heroes, Bruton will seduce your senses just as he does Marguerite's.] It was a nice turn of pace to read a book which was Egyptian-centered, and yet didn't fall into the trap of centering on the more famous of the Egyptian woman: Cleopatra or Nefertiti (and this from an author whose own book does fall into that trap). The authoress shows a great deal of respect and craftsmanship in the development of Bruton and Marguerite's characters and their love, making them earn their happiness after many trials and tribulations. And whilst I do not wish to give away too much, there is a very clever, albeit brief epilogue told from the point of view of the necklace which seals up the overarching story line nicely. I generally don't care for the use of time travel as a device in most books, but it worked well in this one as there was no overreaching attempt by the author to pound the reader over the head with the whys and the hows.
There were a few very small issues I did have, and as I promised an honest review, I would be remiss if I did not mention them. Firstly, while Ms. Marx develops the setting of 1910s Egypt very well, some of the archaeological or Arab terms used in the text may slip by or slow down readers not familiar with the region or the field of study. It should not be a hindrance, however, as one soon learns from the story painted around such terms, their meaning. One small thing I did find myself taking some issue with was a slight undercurrent of orientalism that crept into the plot at certain points. In the early passages where I felt this, I dismissed it as an accurate viewpoint of Europeans concerning the Islamic world in this era. However, later when the setting shifted to Turkey during the Young Turk era, and with Marguerite having recovered her faculties, I did find it a bit overdone. As a student of Ottoman history, I also recognized a few historical inaccuracies when the story reached that point (i.e. a male doctor in the Harem, Marguerite being arranged to marry the Sultan's son, though the sultanate did the require a legal marriage to legitimize the offspring or physical relationship between a master i.e. sultan or prince with a slave or captive), but I doubt those not as intimate as I with the history of Turkey will take an particular notice of these.
Over all, an excellent cross-genre adventure/romance, and one that's sure to keep readers on the edge of their seat up to the end.
My only 'gripes' are that the story started in present and then switched to past tense. I also felt it was a bit "overly literary" for my tastes.
That being said so that readers know it's not perfect, I do want to say that the story is really good. I unquestionably enjoyed it and I am VERY excited to enjoy more of Ms. Marx's books.
One thing I particularly liked about the book was that it was unpredictable in many ways, which is something that I like, since I read pretty voraciously even though I am an author, myself (my poor readers!). I would recommend the book without a moment's hesitation just on this factor alone, but it was a pleasant read, if a tiny bit slow starting for me personally. I hope people will get past that, because it's worth a read!