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The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters: 1800s Egyptian Archaeology, Romance, and Mystery!

I was very hesitant to begin the Amelia Peabody series. So hesitant that after I acquired the first two books, I let them sit on my shelves for at least the same number of years. Now, while this is not unusual for books I own, what IS unusual is that I was consciously avoiding them. You see, when you grow up reading a lot of historical lady novels, you cannot help but encounter the Anachronistic Feminist, and UGH. Ugh I say! The anachronistic feminist is a salient part of an unfortunate number of historical novels. Historical novelists! Your characters must be informed by their times! Stop investing them with contemporary-to-yourself values!

It's like THIS. Except this is actually really cool, so...nevermind, not like this.

So when I finally began Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first in the Amelia Peabody series, I assumed I would hate it. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when no! She is conscious of improprieties! She is shocked by things people would be shocked by back then! Sometimes she throws cultural norms to the wind, but that is because it is Egyptian wind and they have more pressing concerns to deal with.

Amelia Peabody is an English lady in her early 30s who has recently become an English lady of independent means, as her father died and left her all his many monies. She decides to go abroad! Because that sounds fun. She looks for a companion, because that makes abroad-ing even MORE fun, and she meets an unfortunate young lady who has fallen on hard times but is otherwise perfect (this is Evelyn), and the two go to Egypt. Where they run into a mummy! Or do they! I don't know! (yes I do) You have to read the book!

It could be exactly like this! Or maybe not!

I like Amelia. She has a temper and makes observations like:

Watching his beaming face, hearing his jovial tones, I could understand why Mr. Dickens' Scrooge found his jolly nephew so irritating.

You can guess almost everything that's going to happen in this book, but that doesn't make it any less fun. I'd classify it under "tasteful but thoughtless reading." So people will somehow give you credit for reading it, but it requires 5% of your attention. Also Amelia meets a gentleman who is very rude, so you can guess what happens there.

Or the Victorian archaeologist equivalent

Quick, easy, but not judged like a Nicholas Sparks novel. This is some gooood relaxation readin'.


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