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What the River Knows, a review

This article expresses the views of its author(s), separate from those of this publication. Readers are encouraged to comment or submit a Letter to the Editor to share their opinions. To submit a Letter to the Editor, follow the instructions here.

“What the River Knows” by Isabel Ibañez is a historical fantasy similar to Agatha Christie’s books such as “A Haunting in Venice” and “Death on the Nile.” The story follows Inez Oliveria, a talented member of upper society with artistic abilities and knowledge of Egypt. 

This novel is the first of a duology titled “Secrets of the Nile,” involving betrayal and passion.

Picture of “What the River Knows” cover (Kiela Jefferson)

Inez’s passion for Egypt stems from her parents, who collect magical items and have lived there for over 17 years rather than being with her. Old magic is no longer used as it was passed down verbally but not written down. Magic has been disappearing over time as new owners touch the enchanted objects. 

After Inez finds out that her parents are presumed dead, she sets out to Egypt. She is under the care of her uncle, who’s already there. She was not very close with him and barely ever saw him.

Upon her arrival, she meets with someone who arrived two hours late, whose name we find out to be Whit. The uncle sent him to send Inez back immediately with no explanation. 

Inez decided to leave everything beside her purse and take the next train. Previously, she received a package with a ring that belonged to Cleopatra and held magic within. 

As the beginning of a two-part novel series, this story was engaging but left many things unresolved. There was a massive shock factor in discovering that the mother was still alive. 

Meanwhile, the love story between Inez and Whit develops in an enemies-to-lovers format, and she discovers she doesn’t know her parents as well as she thought she did. Her parents were constantly fighting compared to what she remembered.

The beginning started slowly but was meant to establish a basis for everything that happened. Discovering the secrets of the Nile and learning of her mother’s infidelity was a whirlwind. 

This story was well-established and had meaningful plot holes that will presumably be filled in the second novel of this duology.

Rating: 3.5/5 Spinnaker sails

3.5 spinnaker sails







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