The Sacred Well – Antoinette May

Title: The Sacred Well
Author: Antoinette May
ISBN: 9780061695551
Pages: 400
Release Date: March 24, 2009
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

From the back cover:

A young reporter in 1923, Alma Reed accompanies archaeologists to the ruins of Chichen Itza, where a fortune in Mayan artifacts has been stolen from a sacrificial well. It’s believed a curse was unleashed by the theft—yet the career-making story it offers the ambitious journalist seems a godsend. It also leads her to a passionate love affair with revolutionary governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto. But when fate darkens their lives and damns them as doomed political pawns, Alma can’t help but wonder if the curse is not, in fact, very real.

In another century, another writer is fascinated by Alma’s tragic story. Drawn restlessly to Yucatán—and away from the stifling needs of her desperately ill partner—Sage Sanborn is tempted by her growing feelings for David, a scientist who encourages her to delve deeper into Alma’s history. And in this ancient place of mystery and spirits, Sage must make an impossible decision that will forever change the course of her life.

I have always found the culture and history of the Mayan people fascinating, though I’m sorry to say that I don’t know much about them. Therefore, when I stumbled upon The Sacred Well at the bookstore, I was more than eager to give it a try.

I thought that The Sacred Well was a compelling novel that was carefully researched and very well written. I loved how May took the historical figure of Alma Reed – though I admit, I didn’t realize she was an actual person until the author’s afterword – and breathed life into her through her book. I don’t know anything about Mexican history of the early 20th century, so I really feel like I learned a lot by reading this book.

I definitely found Alma’s story more interesting than Sage’s, though I think that was intentional on the author’s part This book was much more about Alma – that’s the reason that most of the story is told in her voice, in her time. However, I found both characters to be well developed, though I thought Felipe and Alma’s romance to be a bit rushed.

If you’re interested in Mexican or Mayan history, or archaeology in general, I definitely recommend The Sacred Well. This well researched book is certainly a gem that I’m thrilled I stumbled upon. I look forward to seeing what May does next!

Comments

  1. You have been putting a lot of historical fiction reviews lately and I must say u have made me curious enough to read them all as soon as I can lay my hands upon them.

    Nice review

  2. You have been putting a lot of historical fiction reviews lately and I must say u have made me curious enough to read them all as soon as I can lay my hands upon them.

    Nice review

  3. I’ll definitely have to pick this one up. I have a lot of friends who have done work on the Maya. In fact, I should ask them if they’ve seen this novel.

  4. I’ll definitely have to pick this one up. I have a lot of friends who have done work on the Maya. In fact, I should ask them if they’ve seen this novel.

  5. I did a report on the Mayans in the 5th grade, and have been fascinated with them ever since. I’m adding this book to my wish list.

  6. I did a report on the Mayans in the 5th grade, and have been fascinated with them ever since. I’m adding this book to my wish list.

  7. My husband and and I just had a discussion about the MAyans yesterday and since my input was fairly minimal maybe I need to take a look at this boo!

  8. My husband and and I just had a discussion about the MAyans yesterday and since my input was fairly minimal maybe I need to take a look at this boo!

  9. This sounds very interesting. I like books that deal with two different time periods. I’ve added this one to my wishlist!

  10. This sounds very interesting. I like books that deal with two different time periods. I’ve added this one to my wishlist!

  11. An absolutely gorgeous cover!

  12. An absolutely gorgeous cover!

  13. I am glad I borrowed this book from the library because I would have felt really bad about abandoning it after reading two-thirds if I had bought it. I like the Mayans and I like historical fiction. The Sacred Well seems genuinely like an interesting story; unfortunately the author’s style is quite dull; unlike the Disobedient Girl which I read in the same week, I found the transition between Alma & Sage throughout the book very abrupt.

  14. I am glad I borrowed this book from the library because I would have felt really bad about abandoning it after reading two-thirds if I had bought it. I like the Mayans and I like historical fiction. The Sacred Well seems genuinely like an interesting story; unfortunately the author’s style is quite dull; unlike the Disobedient Girl which I read in the same week, I found the transition between Alma & Sage throughout the book very abrupt.

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