Book Review: Song of the Nile

This feature is in association with NetGalley.

Song of the Nile by Hannah Fielding
Many thanks to both NetGalley and to London Wall Publishing for letting me see an advance reader’s copy of Song of the Nile.

I wanted to love this story, I really did. I already loved the cover and the title, and it did look like a nice, interesting read. In fact, I settled down for a good session of escapism. But I have to admit that I was sorely disappointed.

For a start, the book went on and on and on about every tiny little thing the tourist, or even the resident, might have witnessed in post-war Egypt.

For example, I really wasn’t interested in every single item that could be found for sale on the street market or in the shops. Sure, add a bit here and there for colour, but not every single trinket or piece of tat.

I wasn’t interested in the decor being described to the nth degree, and nor was I interested in the height of fashion at the time. Again, add some for colour and to give a flavour, but so much detail was simply overkill.

It’s as though the author was trying too hard to get everything in, at the expense of the storyline and the character development.

Or rather not any character development. The characters did not develop at all, in my opinion.

I did not like the main, privileged character of Aida. She was too much the victim whilst trying to pretend that she was in control. I lost what little empathy I had for her when she abandoned an injured animal to a lonely, painful death. She was far too indulged and I wanted her to rebel against that.

I did not like the hero, Phares, either. For me, no should mean no, and especially when you’re the hero. He was too arrogant, too cocky, too dishonest, and he did not seem to change his opinion of women at all.

And then, after ploughing through all of this unnecessary detail just to get to the end (it really does go on and on and on), all of a sudden, there was the end. The story was at far too leisurely a pace to suddenly finish so abruptly. It was wrapped up too quickly and too conveniently.

The cover is beautiful. One star awarded there. The title was wonderful. Another star awarded there. And I particularly appreciated the reference to the actual song of the Nile. But only three stars all together, I’m afraid, the third one awarded for effort.

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