Chris Olson only wanted to visit her old college room-mate but what she got was a whirlwind romance, proof that the paranormal is real and a mystery to solve. When Chris arrives at The Virginia Plantation called Poplar Ridge she has dreams of a confederate soldier who looks like her lover Geoff Cameron and a one-eyed scout. Poplar Ridge is a place with a long history and the past never died. Through the eyes of the long dead Margaret and some research of the Cameron family archives, Chris unlocks the secrets to Poplar Ridge’s tragic history.
When I first started this book I thought the romance part of it went way to quick and I didn’t like the main character of Chris. It’s stated that Chris is a lawyer but in the beginning I thought she came across as an emotional flake and I kept thinking to myself that lawyers wouldn’t be like this. As I kept reading though the character of Chris grew on me and I liked how the civil war story with Margaret unfolded.
I loved Margaret’s story and the description of how the civil war effected the Cameron family and Poplar Ridge. The story unfolds in pieces as the present day story is told which adds to the mystery of the book. Kim Murphy has written another non fiction book on the civil war called I Had Rather Died: Rape In The Civil War. Kim’s knowledge about the Civil War really brought Margaret’s story to life. Women during the war did suffer what Margaret endured and even though this book is fiction there is a lot of realism to Margaret’s story.
While you feel a lot of empathy for Margaret in the book you also have to feel bad for her husband George. Both characters had their lives ripped apart by war. Even though Margaret was not a solider she suffers more than George and what she has to go through changes George’s life as much as hers. Another aspect of this book that I liked was how events that happened over 140 years ago still effect a family. Geoff still talks badly of Northerners, the grounds of the plantation are unchanged from Civil War times with some of the artifacts still in their place and the ghosts of the past never went away. When a tragic event happens in a family it affects future generations and the past doesn’t always stay where it belongs.
History aside there are two great love stories in Whispers From The Grave. What makes the loves stories interesting is they are not perfect. George and Margaret have a love story that is deeply effected by tragedy they have no control of, despite this they still love each other. The other love story was between Geoff and Chris, what I liked about it was that I wasn’t sure how it would go. Geoff’s ex-wife Beth is still in the picture and the couple still have feelings for each other. Also Geoff has epilepsy and Chris has a career in Boston. As much as I liked the history I also loved that I couldn’t guess if the love story would work out until the end. Whispers From The Grave is a great book whether you are into romances or if you just like well researched books set during the Civil War.
One of the most popular subjects for historical fiction novels is Ancient Egypt. This is probably because of the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx along with other monuments which still stand. Through hieroglyphs on the walls of tombs we have learned a lot about Egyptian mythology and what life was like in ancient times. Most historical novels look at life during this period from a human perspective but we know that Egyptians worshiped cats, so it would make sense to have a novel about Ancient Egypt from a cat’s point of view.
Per-Bast A Tale Of Cats In Ancient Egypt by Lara Dawn Stiegler is a a mystery set during the time of Ramesses III from 1100 to 1200BC. Egypt is in turmoil. A plague has been spread from rats to stray cats to to the house cats of Egypt and its only a matter of time before the humans get it. The Egyptian empire has survived many problems but after several years of war and a labor dispute this new plague might destroy Egypt’s golden age.
Things look grim and get even worse when the High Priest of Karnak Temple dies in a fire along with his cat Sahu. A palace cat named Neferure is convinced that the death was no accident. No one believes Neferure’s theory so she searches for answers on her own. What she finds isn’t just a conspiracy against the Egyptian empire but a plot against the gods themselves. Can one cat stop the fall of Egypt?
This story was different from any other story I’ve read. Per-Bast has a good mix of humor, drama and mystery. I liked how the cats are portrayed as being as smart as humans, they can hear and understand people but they can’t communicate with them with the exception of the Pharaoh. I also liked how the cats on a social level we’re similar to humans with the house cats looking down on the stray cats, all of them having different personalities and believing in the same gods as the humans.
My favorite parts of this book was the relationship between Neferure and Sahu, even when one has passed, the other shows a great amount of loyalty. I also loved the stories of the gods that the cats share such as Ra passing through the underworld along with the story of Ahmes’s lineage. While there is a lot of seriousness to this book there are funny parts such as hearing a depressed crocodile complain that he can’t get a meal, a cat that tries to please his human by giving him a dead mouse and a hippo who can’t be moved.
One thing that I need to mention about this book is that if you think that a mystery set in ancient Egypt from a cat’s viewpoint might be corny, you are mistaken. This book is well researched giving detailed descriptions of temples, a history of families in Egypt and it does a good job telling the stories of the gods that the Egyptians believed in. If you want to learn more about ancient Egypt history and their mythology, this book presents it in an entertaining way. Per-Bast A Tale Of Cats In Ancient Egypt is good storytelling presenting history in a way that it hasn’t been looked at before and its a tale that readers of all ages can enjoy.