Saturday, June 30, 2012

Soul and Shadow by Susan J. McLeod

Published by Imajin Books

A romantic adventure into the world of ancient Egypt, this book is a charmer. Light and fun early in the book until the paranormal slips in. Here we have the elements of two distinctly different women in love at different times in history with only the link of history to join them, or so it seems. The book was a delightful surprise to me.

Lily, a grad student and research assistant to a highly regarded professor in the field of Egyptology is in the right place at the right time as a new exhibit arrives in town. It is the mummy of Amisihathor, more commonly known by the locals as Amisi, a songstress in the temple of Hathor on loan from the Cairo Museum. As an artist, Lily has done many paintings and illustrations of ancient Egypt, and as she gazes at the art of the sarcophagus, she is overcome with feelings and images alien to her. An eccentric woman behind her appears to have connected in some way, too. She is there to speak to Lily. She has seen Lily's art and believes she will be able to communicate somehow to learn the fate of Amisi. There is some confusion about her tomb and burial.

Susan J. McLeod has written a complex and entertaining story with many pieces and characters interwoven from both the ancient time of Amisi and the current life of Lily. The relationship between best friends and colleagues Lily and Katy is fun. Romance is in the air and Lily is falling hard for the Kent, son of Dame Ursula Allingham, who found the tomb ... the lady she met at the museum. There is a mystery surrounding Amisi, but there is also a mystery surrounding the Allingham family. More discomfiting is the mystery of Lily's dreams since meeting them. Her dreams are so vivid, and as she draws, scenes come to life as though she has really seen them. How can this be?

When Lily's ex-boyfriend moves back to town lines are drawn and pressure applied. Will Stephen reclaim his relationship or will Kent keep him at arm's length from Lily? Why does her mother ignore Lily's feelings for Kent and keep pushing her toward Stephen? Theft, romance, secrets, betrayal, friendship and Lily’s psychic revelations meld together well. A beautifully written final chapter. I enjoyed this book so much with it's multiple fleshed out characters in both settings that I wasn't ready for it to end. I was very glad when the following page was a preview of the next book featuring Lily and Katy.

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