Thursday 30 September 2021

The Collector's Daughter - Gill Paul

An unforgettable discovery

In 1922, Lady Evelyn Herbert’s dreams are realised when she is the first to set foot inside the lost tomb of Tutankhamun for over 3,000 years.

A cursed life

But the months after the discovery are marred by tragedy, when Eve’s father dies suddenly and her family is torn in two. Desperate to put the past behind her, Eve retreats into a private life with her new husband.

A deadly choice

But she is harbouring a dark secret about what really happened in Egypt. And when a young woman comes asking questions years later, the happiness Eve has finally found is threatened once more…

What did I think?

Gill Paul's amazing ability to reach into history and bring her characters to life has made her one of my favourite historical fiction authors.  So I was delighted when I found out that the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb was the subject of her new novel, The Collector's Daughter.

I've always loved Egyptian history and although I've never been to the Valley of the Kings, I have visited Cairo and seen some of the breathtaking treasures discovered in the tomb.  I knew Lady Evelyn was present in 1922, as I remember seeing the famous photo of her stood in between Howard Carter and her father Lord Carnarvon, but I didn't know that she was the first person to enter the tomb.  Considering people at the time thought that there was a curse of the pharaohs, this shows precisely the type of plucky young lady she was.

Although there are flashbacks to 1922 and beyond, the story is mainly set in 1973 when Eve is recovering from yet another stroke with her adoring husband Brograve by her side.  The depiction of a stroke is written so sensitively that it broke my heart in two.  Just the thought of reliving your saddest memories over and over again (as you had forgotten them) brings tears to my eyes.  Eve is determined not to let the stroke beat her and, when she gets a mysterious visitor asking questions about Tutankhamun's tomb, her memories of that time help her recovery.  There's one special memory that she must not share though...

Simply wonderful!  I adored every single page of The Collector's Daughter; Lady Evelyn is a most unexpected heroine and I now have great admiration for her.  Gill Paul's beautiful writing completely swept me away to Egypt and I didn't want to leave!  A poignant story woven around true facts, The Collector's Daughter is a breathtaking novel and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

I chose to read a digital ARC received via NetGalley and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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