Review first appeared on fefferbooks.com.
I love a good period mystery/romance, but usually when I read them, I prepare myself for a touch of stuffiness from the narrator. I was so pleasantly surprised by the bubbly, energetic voice that greeted me from the pages of Anne Cleeland's Daughter of the God-King. Hathor (who goes by Hattie; who can blame her?) is so headstrong, so bright, so...dare I say spunky? that she charms her way quickly right into the hearts of readers.
Cleeland's characters, and there are many, are mainly all similarly charming--Bing, Hattie's companion, is faithful, cheerful, and delightfully insightful. Robbie, the childhood friend and erstwhile love interest, throws a dash of loyalty and stability into the mix. Eugenie is the consummate French flirt, and Mssr. Berry is irresistibly, protectively, seductively fabulous.
The setting flits from Paris to Thebes, Cairo to the Valley of the Kings, and all kinds of adventure ensues. The group, as a whole, is on the hunt for an Egyptian artifact, and Hattie has been superstitiously confused for the daughter in the title: the pharaoh Seti's daughter. But there is more mystery to unfold, fraught with spies and intrigue, mummies and artifacts and murder and theft--and some romance, too. The romance, itself, was a little heavy on the details for me, but might be just fine for others. Just fair warning.
Cleeland's writing is clear, frolicking, and engaging. The only issue I noted was once or twice when the narration shifted ever-so-slightly out of voice: the book is written in third-person limited, meaning we know what Hattie thinks and feels, but no one else. In a couple of places, we're told exactly what someone else thinks, or even, that we're not sure *what* Hattie thinks. That would be fine, if Hattie herself doesn't know, but instead, it seems as if the narrator is unsure. That was a tad distracting. Regardless, it only happened a couple of times.
Otherwise, the book was wholly delightful, and if it were a little lighter on the bedroom details, I'd happily read the next in the series. 4.5 stars.
Note: ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Daughter of the God-King is on shelves now!