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Secret of the Sands by Sara Sheridan
  

Secret of the Sands

Historical Fiction   Romantic Fiction   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £7.99

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An excellent novel set in Arabia in the mid 1800s. Based to some extent on fact, but with believable fictional input, the book ties in a strong set of characters, both English and Arab, who are three dimensional and solid. The contrast of eastern and western culture is very well portrayed. Written in the present tense to give the narrative an immediacy and pace, the first third of the book deals with the lives of slave traders and their captives, one of whom is the beautiful Abyssinian Zena and then to the expedition to Arabia by Lieutenant James Wellsted who goes to the rescue of two captured Englishmen in the desert. His future lies ahead in the shape of the slave girl Zena, who he comes to own. Their adventures together and subsequent parting hold the reader’s attention, for the love story becomes integral to the plot - a sense of it being risky adding another dimension to the action packed tale. The subject matter is not frivolous and Sara Sheridan shows that she is a great story teller as she takes us through the pages. A great read.

If you like Sara Sheridan you might also like to read books by Kate Quinn, Kate Furnivall and Jane Johnson.

Synopsis

Secret of the Sands by Sara Sheridan

She was a slave. He was her master. Both of them long to be free!

1833 -- The British Navy are conducting a survey of the Arabian Peninsula where slavery is as rife as ever despite being abolition. Zena, a headstrong and determined young Abyssinian beauty has been torn from her remote village, subjected to a tortuous journey and is now being offered for sale in the market of Muscat.

Lieutenant James Wellstead is determined that his time aboard HMS Palinurus will be the conduit to fame and fortune. However, all his plans are thrown into disarray when two of his fellow officers go missing while gathering intelligence in the desert.

By an unexpected twist of fate -- Zena finds herself the property of Wellstead, now on a daring rescue mission into forbidding territory. Master and slave are drawn ever closer, but as danger faces them at every turn, they must endure heartache and uncertainty -- neither of them knowing what fortune awaits them as they make their hazardous way through the shifting sands.

A rich and epic novel that will appeal to fans of The Pirate's Daughter and East of the Sun.

Reviews

Praise for Secrets of the Sands:

'This well-paced story brings the perfumes and landscape of Arabia shimmeringly to life.
The Daily Mail

'A thoroughly enjoyable read. Recommended.'
bookbag

.co.uk Praise for The Secret Mandarin: 'A truly sumptuous, action-packed Oriental adventure that might just be our favourite historical romance of the year.
Daily Record

'An enchanting story that draws you in! perfect for whiling away the hours on a rainy day.'
Closer

'If you like mystery, history, love and adventure then this book is for you!'
Scottish Home & Country

'A very enjoyable voyage to the Far East.
Weekly News

About the Author

Sara Sheridan

Sara Sheridan is an historical novelist who writes two different kinds of books. One is a series of cosy crime noir mysteries set in Brighton in the 1950s – Brighton Belle - and the other is a set of novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers and adventurers (1820 - 1845) – The Secret Mandarin and Secret of the Sands. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She received a Scottish Library Award for Truth or Dare, her first novel, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. An occasional journalist and blogger, Sara appears on BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and blogs for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. She is a twitter evangelist and a self-confessed swot. Sara sits on the Committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland where she lives and also on the board of the UK-wide writers' collective '26' and took part in the acclaimed 26 Treasures project in 2010 at the V&A, in 2011 at National Museum of Scotland and in 2012 at the Children's Museum, Bethnal Green. She is a member of the Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers Association. Sara also mentors for the Scottish Book Trust. More information can be found at www.sarasheridan.com and she can be found on Twitter at @sarasheridan. She lives in Edinburgh with her family.

Author photo © Martin Melecis

Below is a Q&A with this author

1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I never intended to be a writer though as it turns out I think I'd been gearing myself towards writing for years. It wasn't until I had to find something that I could work from at home that I thought I might try to write a book and lo, I had an English degree and was inspired by history and had all these stories that just flowed out of me. My parents were a huge inspiration and my History and English teachers from school too.

2. What keeps you motivated as a writer?

I love story – it's word-heroin. It's the same thing, really, that keeps me motivated as a reader. That feeling of being caught up in the middle of a narrative and nothing outside of that fiction existing. You can multiply that by ten if you're writing rather than reading it.

3. Do you have a routine when you’re writing (i.e. silence, a particular genre of music, only working in the morning, only working in your underpants?)

I often work in bed but that is more about just getting on with it as soon as I open my eyes! These days I write wherever I am and that might be at a book festival or on a plane or in a library – I switch my brain into the story and I just go. I also like the café up the road – coffee on tap is a great resource for a writer!

4. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer?

Eyes down, specs on, sleeves up and Go!

5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while writing a book?

When I dream about it. I don't write magical realism but that's what all my stories become when I dream about them. It's like being a stick of rock – the words go all the way through.

6. Where would you like to be right now, anywhere in the world?

Well as I am writing this in bed I can't say In Bed Writing, so I suppose I'll say somewhere sunny, reading (which is my other love).

7. If you could swop lives with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?

That's difficult because most characters don't have happy lives and that's what makes them interesting. I wouldn't want to be my heartbroken 1950s detective, Mirabelle Bevan or one of the slave girls, Farida and Zena from Secret of the Sands but if I could be a bloke (why not?) I'd love to be John Murray (who is a real-life character – a pre-eminent Scottish publisher from the early 1800s) because he ran an amazing literary salon. Strangely I'd also like to be one of my recent crime victims – Rose Bellamy Gore. She goes missing in London Calling in the most fantastic frock!

8. If you weren't a writer, what would your 'dream' occupation be?

I'd probably be an antiques dealer. I'm obsessed by history and I love objects – I always research part of a period through its artefacts whether they're in a museum or a car boot sale. I'd love to do that for a living or maybe (if I was indulging my swotty side) I'd work in a museum – which is almost the same thing.

9. If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character?

I always hoped Hermione Norris would want to be Mirabelle if there was a TV adaptation of the Mysteries (fingers crossed)

10. Which authors do you particularly admire?

I have wide-ranging admirations. Agatha Christie for her sense of drama, the American writer TC Boyle whose historical descriptions are so vivid you can taste the era off the pages, Bill Bryson for his narrative voice, Susannah Clarke for her sense of magic, Joseph O'Connor for his ability to communicate story, William Goldman because he's quirky and yet accessible. Gosh, I'm getting quite excited just making this list.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd February 2011

Author

Sara Sheridan

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Author's Website

www.sarasheridan.com

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Publisher

AVON, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
448 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Romantic Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781847561992

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