Title: The Sacred Well
Author: Antoinette May
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!