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Hattie Williams has been hired to illustrate a book about the first female Egyptian Pharaoh, Hatshepsut. As she is working, she easily captures the background but has trouble drawing the majestic Hatshepsut. Thinking a magnificent necklace belonging to the Pharaoh will inspire her, Hattie begins to sketch the beautiful piece of jewelry. In doing so, she touches it and Hatshepsut appears before her, saying Hattie is one of her descendants. Hatshepsut needs Hattie to return to the past in her place and protect the heir, Prince Tuthmosis from the very murderers who sought to end Hatshepsut’s life.
Hattie travels over three thousand years into the past and wakes up as Hatshepsut in Thebes. Leaning over her with his face etched in worry is Senemut, a man Hattie recognizes as the Royal Architect and the constant companion and supposed lover of Hatshepsut.
Believing she is still distraught over her husband’s death, Senemut is only slightly concerned by Hattie’s lack of knowledge about royal affairs. He notices the changes in her personality and manner, but as he starts to fall in love with her, he realizes these new changes are quite attractive. No longer is Hatshepsut quiet and meek; she is now vocal and assertive.
Meanwhile Hattie, a common woman from modern day Chicago, is trying to exist as an unwanted royal in an ancient time. Her days are spent performing royal duties, nurturing Hatshepsut’s adorable daughter, and attempting to befriend Prince Tuthmosis, a very sullen young man. With Senemut’s help, she is doing pretty well.
Hattie may be capable of surviving toilets that don’t flush and the lack of a corner drugstore, but can she survive the attempts on her life? Though she is making many friends in Egypt, there are people close to her who would love to see her dead. Even Senemut’s love may not be enough to keep her safe.
This book is a pleasurable quantum leap. Reading this engaging novel, all I could think of was that television show, Quantum Leap, the one with Scott Bakula. Going back in time and making what once went wrong right. With Lady of The Two Lands, Elizabeth Delisi has gone back in time and brought back something that is definitely right.
Lady of The Two Lands is a remarkable tale of an ancient culture which has fascinated people for centuries. Hatshepsut is one of the greatest figures of Egyptian history, and the relationship she shared with Senemut has often been a topic of discussion for historians. Today, the whereabouts of Hatshepsut's and Senemut's bodies are still unknown. And for a history buff like myself, that is one of the factors that makes this story so intriguing.
Too often writers of little skill strive to depict another period in history and fall into description quicksand. These writers spend so much time and use overly excessive wording in an endeavor to place the reader in a particular place and era, and in the end, they neglect the story itself. Elizabeth Delisi is not one of those writers. With detailed yet efficient accuracy, she vividly invigorates the past by adding to it a charming, feisty heroine of the present and a strong, charismatic hero from days gone by.
If I could step into a time machine and speak to the author as she was writing, in my attempt to fix what I consider to be wrong, my only recommendation would be for her to extend the ending. Though all my questions were effectively answered, the wrap-up was too brief, almost forced in a sense.
But then again, does anyone ever want to see a good book end?