Book Review: Secret of the Sands by Sara Sheridan

Will their fate be decided on the sands?
The year is 1833 and the British Navy are engaged in surveying the coastline of the Arabian Peninsula. Young and ambitious, Lieutenant James Wellstead is determined to use his time in His Majesty's Service as a path to glory. His plans are thrown into disarray when two of his shipmates go missing while gathering intelligence and Wellstead must mount a daring rescue.
Slavery is still rife throughout Arabia. Zena, a headstrong Abyssinian beauty who was torn from her village, is now being offered for sale in the market of Muscat. However, her fortunes change when she finds herself the property of the Lieutenant. She must accompany him on his hazardous mission, little knowing the fate that awaits them.
Each will be forced to make a choice- one that will change their lives forever.
In the historical note at the back of the book, Sara Sheridan explains that Secret of the Sands belongs to the 'faction' genre. The author read the real life accounts of naval officer, especially those of Lieutenant Wellstead and then has created the story around them. In some ways I wish I had known this at the beginning as I think it would have made the book even more interesting knowing that the characters actually existed.
However, Secret of the Sands is excellent, it is quite different from what I normally read but I really enjoyed it. Sara Sheridan has written a believable and entertaining story and packed it with rich details. I loved the descriptions of the people, the food, the landscapes, the dialogue, the religion, even the smells. There is a lot to take in during the book but I felt as though I had been given a breathtaking tour of the Arabian Peninsula.
I don't want to tell you too much more about the story, the blurb says it all and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. What I will say though is that the characters in the book are extremely well created, there are a lot of characters both British and Arabic and the differences and similarities that Sara Sheridan highlights are fascinating.
Zena was probably my favourite character. She is stolen from her village by slavers but shows tremendous resolve and bravery at the fate that has befallen her. When she comes under the care of Lieutenant Wellstead she can see that he is a kind man but she had no idea of the kind of feelings he would stir in her. Zena realises that she will do anything for Wellstead and this loyalty is greatly tested on several occasions.
Secret of the Sands is a romantic adventure, the story jumps from Britain, to Muscat to the wilds of the Arabian desert. I have found myself thinking of this book long after I finished the last page so I would highly recommend that you check it out.

Many thanks to Avon for sending me a copy of the book to review.


Vivienne said...

Don't think I have ever read a book set in the Arabian desert. Sigh! Adding to me evergrowing TBR pile.

Dot said...

Vivienne- It's the first that I have read in that kind of setting but I really enjoyed it!

One More Page said...

Great review Dot - I probably wouldn't have picked this up as I didn't think it was really my thing but now you've made me want to read it :)

Sheps said...

What a brilliant idea for a blog - so glad i've found you, I'm always on the look out for new books! Call me a new follower.


Dot said...

One More Page- It's not my normal kind of thing either but shall be looking out for more like this now!

Sheps_ Thankyou! Going to pop over and have a look at your blog today!

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