"The LoveReading Team adore this vibrant historical fantasy adventure novel set in Egypt with a plucky heroine at the helm."
Richly imagined and punchy with action, adventure, and mystery, this fabulous read dips into old world magic, and an interesting romance. Desperate for answers, 19-year-old Inez Olivera travels to Egypt after the deaths of her parents in 1884. If I hadn’t previously known this was a young adult novel I might not have realised, so this is wonderfully accessible for older adults too. That is the beauty of really well-written YA fiction, that it isn’t obviously aimed at an age range, and this is one of the reasons I’ve chosen What the River Knows as a LoveReading Star Book. Author Isabel Ibanez has created the most fabulously immersive world into which Inez bursts and I rushed along beside her, eyes and mind open wide. Inez is independent, determined, and has a good heart, she really does make the most perfect protagonist. The rest of the characters maintain an edge of mystery, I found my thoughts changing as I read, at times wanting to caution Inez as she rushed into her adventures. The magic on offer feels so very realistic, attached as it is to an ancient past. I loved travelling back to the nineteenth century and then further back again, it ensured that I was present in every moment, aware of the depth of the story. The sense of place is immense, Egypt sings with colour and vibrancy, while the adventurous and clever plot filled my heart with joy. The first in the Secrets of the Nile Duology is a resounding success, What the River Knows is awash with adventurous souls, a dynamic plot, and exciting locations, its fabulously entertaining and I can’t wait for more!
Ancient Egyptian tombs and magic. Sizzling romance. A gloriously gutsy heroine. This 19th-century-set adventure is an exhilarating joy.
What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez, the first book in the Secrets of the Nile duology, is a thoroughly entertaining period adventure — think Death on the Nile meets Eva Ibbotson. Set in the late nineteenth-century, and moving from Buenos Aires to the Nile, it shimmers with mystery and ancient magic, and sparky enemies-to-lovers romance. And all this driven by a spirited heroine who breaks all the rules in applaudably audacious style. Bravo!
While living a high-society life in Buenos Aires — though deeply frustrated by the constraints of her sex, and missing her parents, who spend half the year on digs in Egypt — 19-year-old Inez receives news that said parents have died. Set on discovering what happened to them, and passionate about visiting the land they’d spent 17 years working in, she sets sail from Buenos Aires to see her uncle Tio Ricardo, who also works in the field of ancient archaeology and artefacts.
On finding her in Cairo, Tio Ricardo makes it abundantly clear that Inez must return home at the earliest opportunity. But with mystery (and magic) around a special ring from her father already taking hold, along with a thrilling, right royal new dig, she finds a way to remain. And so the adventure ramps up.
Alongside the enthralling overarching mystery of Inez’s missing parents, there’s intrigue and treachery, ancient magic, and fiery desire-fuelled banter, all playing out in a fabulously conjured story world that’ll have you thinking you’ve been transported to the banks of the Nile in the late 19th-century. What the River Knows is a magnificently exhilarating read.