Monday, July 28, 2014
The Visitors by Sally Beauman
Author Beauman did not try to re-write history, but added the human side to it..the highs and the lows, the celebration and the heartbreak.
Lucy Payne is an eleven year old girl, recovering from the typhoid virus that took her mother's life. She is sent to Egypt with a caretaker named Miss MacKenzie ( Miss Mack for short), by her father, a rather self-centered, cold university professor. What an opportune time to be in the Valley of the Tombs, when Howard Carter is excavating along with Lord Carnavon & other famous archeologists.
Miss Mack believes that Lucy will recover when she is out in the fresh air, taking part in life again.. not only has she been seriously ill but is also grieving for her mother. On the first venture to the tombs, Lucy spies a young girl running about the excavation site..she turns out to be Frances, daughter of an archeologist. And so begins the human story within the magnificent story.
The story is told by a now elderly Lucy, in retrospect. There are many characters in this novel, but the crux of it is centered around Lucy, along with best friend Frances. She meets Rose & Peter, two more children caught up in the drama unfolding in the desert. Lord Carnavon & his daughter Evelyn, social butterfly Poppy D'Erlanger ( Rose & Peter's mother who meets an untimely death), Howard Carter, and others help to personalize the story. Love and life and loss of both, make this a bittersweet tale.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters were just so fully formed, the story so well developed-
I didn't want to put it down-which is hard to do with a book of 500 plus pages:)
The fascination with King Tut's tomb lives on and this fictional account of the lives changed by it, makes it even more thrilling.