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Whispers in the Sand

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,074 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
Past and present collide in richly mysterious Egypt, where recently divorced Anna Coburn is retracing a journey her great grandmother Louisa made in the 19th century. Cruising down the Nile from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings, Anna carries with her two mementos: an ancient Egyptian scent bottle, and the diary of that original Nile voyage, which has lain unread for a hund ...more
489 pages
Published (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Cphe
Normally enjoy this author but the delivery for this paranormal themed novel set in Egypt was a bit too uneven. I loved the setting and the premise of the novel. Thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of Egypt and felt the timelessness of the country, the history. I thought that was extremely well presented.

However the ending was quite abrupt without any real resolution, or adequate explanation. It was the relationship between Louisa and Hassan, and the setting of Egypt that kept me reading. Not t
...more
Misfit
Anna Fox needs a break from London and the ex-husband, and decides to journey to Egypt and retrace the trip along the Nile taken by her great-great-grandmother Louisa . On a whim, she also decides to bring along an ancient scent bottle Louisa had brought back with her - and there's a big mystery surrounding the bottle as it seems to take on a life of its own. Anna has a single cabin on board ship, but *people* sure do seem to come and go as well as things going bump in the night - is someone on ...more
Kathleen Kelly


Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine was first released in 2000 to rave reviews. When I saw that Sourcebooks was offering a review copy, I was so excited. Why?? Barbara Erskine is my favorite author and has been since I read Lady of Hay. In fact, I remember that I had to order the book online with my first computer. I had to order it from the UK and when I did receive it I was thrilled. It took me a few years to read it...not because it was a bad book but because I wanted to savor it and didn
...more
Susan
May 13, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2013
At best, I found this book uneven. Thought the parts read from the Victorian diary very interesting, but the contemporary narrative, not so much. Aside from the fact that most the characters acted like they were still in high school, I found the 'cursed perfume bottle' storyline a bit absurd, along with the 'magic snake'. And really, just what was all the fuss with the 2 ancient priests feuding over it anyway? It seemed much ado about nothing.

However, I loved the Egyptian setting and the author
...more
Pam
Apr 13, 2012 Pam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A tiny bottle with an ancient Egyptian curse. A modern-day story with a yet-to-read diary belonging to a great-great grandmother. Flashbacks. And a forbidden love story. All of that sounded good and entertaining, but...There were several characters that were just annoying. Really annoying. And there was too much repetition, and no resolution. For example, main character sees haunting apparition. She trembles and screams. Nothing happens to resolve. Next chapter...repeat. As a matter of fact, eve ...more
Sarah
Typical timeslip snooze that annoyed me like a runny nose in allergy season. Tepid, cardboard characters (how many attractive young divorcees can one genre hold?) blended with a lame Scooby Doo mystery & sprinkled with obnoxiously obvious infodumps = yawn.

(N.B.: Hope Lady of Hay is better. At least that one promises some entertainment, what with the '80s ripper echoes sending so many reviewers into a tailspin o' disgust.)
Chelsea
Jul 01, 2012 Chelsea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm a little disappointed in this novel, and I really hoped I wouldn't be because I can't afford a weekend away let alone a two week cruise down the Nile so I planned on living vicariously through it. Unfortunately I just found myself becoming increasingly irritated by it so I'm sharing my thoughts before I even finish it.

#1. If you've never read a book with English grammar it might trip you up a bit. At first I thought there were just an obscene number of typo's.

#2. I just couldn't remain exci
...more
Lisa
This is the first book by Barbara Erskine that I have read (although I do own several others) and on paper it sounded like the sort of thing I would really enjoy. Having finished it, I can say that I quite liked it but I certainly didn't love it. I thought the descriptions of Egypt were fantastic, really rich and evocative, and I liked how Ancient Egyptian mythology and religion was woven into the story. The central mystery was also quite intriguing. However, there were a couple of areas where t ...more
Sarah Rood
Jan 25, 2014 Sarah Rood rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This story started out with the hope of a beautiful enriching adventurous tale! It had twists ... But the same ones over and over ... The repetition was obnoxious, but the compulsion in me to finish made me press on to the end! I had no reprieve and it led to another unending cycle and no clear or even decent open ended conclusion! It was as if the author was lazy and decided to end it abruptly! The only explanation was the authors after note which gave a pathetic excuse that it could be compare ...more
Sheila
I was disappointed in this book. I really liked Lady of Hay by the same author, and I usually love books that connect modern times with the past, but this one was just dull and annoying.
* There was sexism in Lady of Hay, but I dismissed it as part of the era (both the book's setting and the time the book was written). But it's prevalent in this much later book too. The female characters are patronized and downright bullied by the males. The protagonist has no agency and spends her time wringing
...more
Ana
May 28, 2016 Ana rated it really liked it
I think this is my favourite Barbara Erskine book so far :) still dreaming if going to Egypt one day.
Mandy
Jul 17, 2016 Mandy rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. I found myself googling the sites to enable me to picture them properly. I liked how the two lives entwined. Looking forward to reading more of this author.
Susan
Nov 30, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
This was the first Barbara Erskine novel I read and I LOVED it. It was my first delve into paranormal and I had a great time playing catch-up with Erskine's other titles.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Aug 18, 2015 Evelina | AvalinahsBooks rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-of-2015
I think this has been the worst book of this year for me. I wonder how much of that attributes to a bad Lithuanian translation.. But still. Guys, read something else.
Gabriela
Jan 09, 2017 Gabriela rated it did not like it
Don't bother!
Sridhar Babu
Jan 27, 2015 Sridhar Babu rated it liked it
Author..

Barbara Erskine..
Characters..
Anna Fox, Louisa, Hassan, John Forrester, Roger Carstairs, Andy, Toby, Serena, Charley, Omer, Anhotep and Hatsek (priests ) and of course haunted Scent bottle..
Location :
England and Egypt..

Plot..

Anna Fox recently divorced decides to cheer herself by going on vacation to Egypt. Egypt was Anna's long time fascination. Before going there, Anna receives a dairy written by her great great grandmother Louisa on her trip to Egypt in the mid nineteenth century, a
...more
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
originally posted at http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.c...

Anna Fox is recently divorced and free from her controlling husband, but she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her aunt suggests she retrace a Nile cruise her great-grandmother had taken years before. She says yes, but doesn’t realize just what awaits her in Egypt…

Ms. Erskine writes a very solid novel. Every word she uses is there for a purpose and she weaves pictures of Egypt and its scenery, imbues you with a sense of danger, an
...more
Karen Fowler
Oct 10, 2011 Karen Fowler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My daughter calls me a “word nerd” often, and unlike other choice things she has to say about me, with this I am not offended. I freely admit I’m addicted to books. It’s an addiction, like many others that can lead to financial ruin if left unchecked. Which is why I adore signing up to win free books on sites like LibraryThing and GoodReads. I’ve kept food on the table by feeding my addiction with many won books. This book, Whispers In The Sand is one of them.

As an American, I had a little troub
...more
Bookguide
Feb 06, 2014 Bookguide rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa
Esoteric mysteries and all-too human tensions combine to make this a real page-turner. Too many people on this Egyptian cruise seem to be overwrought. Charley thinks Anna wants to steal her boyfriend. Andy and Toby seem to be picking fights with each other and throwing accusations at each other on a daily basis. Charley, Andy and Serena all know each other and have entrenched opinions they are all too willing to confide in Anna. Everybody seems to want Anna to share her great grandmother Louisa' ...more
Patty
Jul 16, 2011 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first book by Barbara Erskine but if given the chance to read another I will certainly do so. I found myself thoroughly loving (most of) the characters and certainly the locale of this book. I have a fascination for books that take place in Egypt; so mysterious, so old. In this tale Anna Fox is recently divorced and is feeling totally diminished by an ex-husband who used her as nothing more than a social secretary. Encouraged by her aunt she takes off to Egypt to follow in the footste ...more
Linda Banche
Aug 12, 2011 Linda Banche rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WHISPERS IN THE SAND by Barbara Erskine is a masterful interweaving of three connected stories of ancient evil surviving through the ages to surface again in the present.

After divorcing her rat of a husband after fourteen years of patronizing, faithless marriage, Anna travels to Egypt for a trip down the Nile to follow in the footsteps of her great-great-grandmother, Victorian artist Louisa, as described in Louisa's sketchbook. Anna also brings along Louisa's old Egyptian scent bottle, which exp
...more
Heather Pearson
Aug 19, 2011 Heather Pearson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently divorced, Anna Fox needs a change in her life. Once her dear Aunt Phyllis suggests she visit Egypt, Anna can't get that location out of her mind. In the mid nineteenth century her great grandmother Louisa visited Egypt and created a wealth of painting of the sites she visited. She also left a travel diary, which Phyllis bestowed to her. Hidden in the depths of both women's stories are those of the ancient priests Anhotep and Hatsek. Both died a violent death at the hands of the other, y ...more
Courtney LeBlanc
Jun 01, 2014 Courtney LeBlanc rated it it was ok
While there were parts of this book I enjoyed, overall I felt like much of it was unrealistic or poorly written. The story weaves real life with other worldly beings - Egyptian priests, gods, and goddesses - and I enjoyed this part, it was fun to get wrapped up in a story that wasn't so serious or heavy. The chapters which focused on the main characters Great-great-grandmother were well written and very enjoyable, unfortunately some of the characters were so poorly written they felt completely u ...more
Dark-Draco
Apr 04, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
This follows Anna Fox as she travels in Egypt, recreating the journey her great grandmother, Louisa, once did. Accompanied by Louisa's journal, Anna starts to discover that there was more to her relative's trip than has been passed down through the family. The journal, and an antique scent bottle, attract the unwanted attention of two men aboard the boat, one a antique dealer, the other with more obscure motives. But it is the more supernatural elements that start to impact on Anna's enjoyment. ...more
Mariann
a book that came out the year you were born

Taaskord leid kaltsukast, see oli nüüd "kallim" raamat, maksis tervelt euro. Samalt autorilt oli terve hunnik teoseid lademes. Kaaned olid ilusad, tagakaanel sisukokkuvõte ka paeluv. Algul ostsin kaks, mõtlesin, et äkki ei kõlba lugeda, kui keegi välja praakinud. See lugu oli aga niivõrd mõnusalt müstiline, et täna käisin ja ostsin autori teised teosed ka kokku. Muide need Rahva Raamatus ka täitsa saadaval, aga 10 euro võrra kallimalt, kui mina sain, he
...more
Monique
Jul 27, 2013 Monique rated it it was ok
This was my first novel by Barbara Erskine and had I not read reviews of this novel which describe it as "not one of her best" I would probably not read another. Plenty of other reviewers have given a run down of the plot, so I'll just tell you what I thought. The heroine, Anna, was annoying and needed to stick up for herself, and the two men who vie for her attentions are pretty annoying too. The sights and sounds of Egypt are evocative and descriptive, but relationships and behaviour of the pe ...more
Staci
Jul 03, 2011 Staci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Staci by: Sourcebooks
Shelves: 2011-reads
First thought after finishing this book: "I so need to visit Egypt!!!"

My Thoughts: This was my first experience reading Barbara Erskine and it won't be my last. I really liked the way she wrote the story using a diary of Anna's great-grandmother as the focal point and in which she was able to link the past with the present. I know that some people do get tired of "the diary" being used in books but for me it never seems to grow old. I honestly felt like I would recognize these people and places
...more
Gerard Pourlavie
Sep 25, 2016 Gerard Pourlavie rated it it was amazing
This is far superior in my opinion to Ms Erskine's first novel, Lady of Hay. This story spans three time periods and had multiple, well-blended plots, unlike the first novel. This time the ancient timeline is supernatural rather than historical, and none the worse for that. I wasn't left wondering how realistic was the historical reconstruction since this plot was obviously wholly based on a fantasy.
Yet Ms Eskirne weaves here an engrossing tale of greed, obsession, romance, intrigue jealousy, an
...more
Michelle
Jun 29, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
i read this story awhile back as I had a stack of Ms Erskine's novels to go through....yet again I was swept away to an ancient place full of historic detail, this time it was ancient Egypt.
The story is told through the eyes of recently divorced Anna, who decides to follow the footsteps of her great grandma, Louisa.... on a journey through Egypt along the Nile on a cruise. Anna is swept back in time through her great grandmother's diary and sketches ....an untold love affair unfolds within the p
...more
Clare
Oct 09, 2013 Clare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in Egypt.
I decided to risk this even though I hadn't liked "Time's Legacy" and I am glad I did. The setting was wonderfully described, and the little paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter added an air of mystery, magic and menace. The characters were interesting although it was obvious fairly early on which of them was the one to worry about. However it was not the living that posed the problem here. Of far more concern were the ghosts of ancient egypt and the events of Louisa's visit. I was very c ...more
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An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of six bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus two collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty different languages. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester, and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.
More about Barbara Erskine...

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