REVIEW: Egyptian Nights and Egyptian Days by Jennifer Mueller
Dear Ms Mueller,
One thing I know is that I’ll always get something new and different when I begin one of your stories. I realize I mention the unusual settings you utilize in almost every review but I appreciate it so darn much that it just has to be said. And this is one of the most interesting ways of doing TT though one that’s hard to read at times. But thanks for not pulling any punches here. Sorry, no joke intended as spousal abuse is no laughing matter.
Time travel novels can irk me. Will the time traveler wander about babbling “this just can’t be happening?” or will he/she act too modern? Will the person in the correct time freak out or accept things too easily? TT novels have ‘issues’ but you’ve dealt with them in ways that worked for me.
Victoria is puzzled at first when she wakes in the body of Mayati and still thinks she’s in modern times. The two weeks of dreams / images / thoughts she gets after collapsing in fear that her husband will find her are enough to convince her of what’s happened. I like how you don’t magically make her be over her long term fear of her modern husband – she knows he’s not here, that he can’t hurt her there but still sudden movements and people quietly coming up behind her frighten her. I also like how you didn’t make the two women almost identical twins and that Victoria has to get used to a new physical body. Thank you for having Victoria have to learn to deal with life as it is there – ie the bare breasts, sheer linen skirts, and going almost nude in heat instead of acting too modern.
The fact that being a priest of Osiris makes Khaemhat already believe in the dead coming back to life solves half of his problems with what has happened. Being an Egyptian takes care of any problems he might have had with soul transference. There, my usual TT niggles are done away with and in a manner that makes sense with the setting and time. He seems awfully willing to go without any nookie for a long time. Very Phil Donahue. I think that the hotter sexuality than normally found in your historicals and contemps fit the context of the story while also being hawt. I love the inscriptions that Khaemhat brings home from his work.
"I breathe the sweet breath from which comes forth from Thy mouth," he started whispering in her ear. "I behold Thy beauty every day. It is my desire that I may hear Thy sweet voice, even on the north wind, that my limbs may be rejuvenated with life through love of Thee. Give me Thy hands, holding Thy spirit, that I may receive it and may live by it. Call Thou upon my name unto eternity, and it shall never fail."
Who wouldn’t love a guy who sees that and thinks of you?
The descriptions of the gardens, tombs and land were all very realistic and I loved reading about the everyday details of life running an ancient Egyptian estate though Victoria seems to learn her new role as mistress of the household fairly easily. I was surprised that none of the servants ever suspected anything.
What was the reason for the almost TT transference back? To give complete closure of Victoria’s past? Aso, her thoughts and questions to herself about why she never left her husband kinda put too much blame on *her* for what happened to her. She had an education, could have left and found new job anywhere, could have evaded Neal. It all sort of makes her seem dumb too. But then if she had left, she never would have traveled back and found Khaemhat.
on to Egyptian Days —
Victoria has to finally deal with others finding out about Mayati’s past and the swicheroo. Which makes sense based on what you said about Mayati in book one. Somebody had to notice the difference or they all would have come across as thick as as Nile mud. Victoria also got to make amends for what Mayati did in the past and use her knowledge to solve a murder. Maybe that will help poor Mayati’s ka find some kind of eventual resting place. I love what Khaemhat did to their tomb to ensure (at least in his own mind) that Mayati’s ka won’t be with him for eternity!
It was inventive how you used this form of TT with an Egyptian setting since they were the masters of worrying about one’s ka for eternity. This book is a little more sex heavy than the first which also makes sense as Victoria and Khaemhat were only just getting to know each other in “Egyptian Nights.” I like that when the bell finally tolled for what Mayati did in the past (sleazy ho) Victoria and Khaemhat didn’t panic. They used the knowledge for good and saw to the punishment of a killer and the restoration of their family relations. And both books have got great covers too. B for each.
I’ve never heard of this author before, but this reveiw makes me want to hunt down this book (and the prequel).
I’ve reviewed a lot of her other short stories and novellas but for some reason, maybe too many books are being pulled up from the tags I added, only one is showing up in the list of similarly tagged books. If you type her name in our search box (top right of screen), you should be able to pull up the rest. I adore her use of different times and settings for her books.
Which publisher are these available through? Usually there’s some kind of buy link in the reviews but I can’t find one…
Sorry about that Fae. I’ve edited the review to include 2 sources for buying both books.
The passage you quoted is sort of well known– at least I recognized it. It is a hymn to the Aten that at one time was thought to have been written by Akhanaten/Akhanaton (heretic pharaoh who introduced a sort of monotheism and ended up having much of his work, name, and pictures erased from the record) and was discovered on a royal coffin associated with that pharaoh in 1905. The translation is Sir Alan Gardiner’s from early in the 20th century. Alan Gardiner was deliberately trying to make the passage sound archaic.
Although it sounds like it could be about romantic love, it seems a little weird to see it in a romance.
I have read a number of Jennifer’s books, and too with her historicals, they are always unique in the setting and the story. So when I’m looking for something different to read, I do read hers. I never heard of the passage but it was nice to read it. I’m not familiar with this time period at all so it would be more for me to enjoy the story rather than determining any accuracy since I’m reading a romance anyways!
LOL, DS. I didn’t know the origin of the passage but now that you’ve explained it, it does look more like something religious rather than romantic love.
I know that the passage might be something that was meant in another context, but I saw it as fitting in what Kheamhat would have access to as far as inspiration.
Exactly! That’s the way I viewed it after DS provided the source for us. He saw it and since he can’t stop off at the local Hallmark store, this is the next best source.