Title: Splendid You
Author: Lynn Bailey (Cynthia Bailey-Pratt)
Publisher: JOVE Magical Love Historical Romance
Copyright Date: 2000
Print Date: July 2000
Book Description (from back cover):
Comments:HISTORY OR CHEMISTRY?
London, England, 1848. Egyptology has always fascinated Julia Hanson. A self-taught hieroglyphics expert, she is unable to pursue her occupation because of the societal prejudice against her gender. Her only hope is to attract the attention of Dr. Simon Archer, the famed Egyptologist who discovered the tomb of Twelfth Dynasty Princess An-ket, and offer her services.
Simon is appalled at Julia's interest in "manly pursuits," and quickly dismisses her, to her outrage and disappointment. Overnight, she locks herself in the museum exhibiting Simon's artifacts to expand her Egyptian knowledge. But a flash of lightning awakens the spirit of An-ket, who decides to help Julia win not only Simon's confidence, but his heart as well...
I bought this book used quite awhile ago (years), and it has been languishing among my TBR read books ever since. This decluttering project (which, btw way is going both well and poorly, depending on how you look at it) has caused me to make some decisions about if I'm actually going to read some of the books I've often picked up but never read. This book had reached decision time.
It was very ... different. Really, I enjoyed it, but it also left me in a position of confusion, for lack of a better word. (I understood the story, but it was so different than what I had expected that it threw me off.) I suppose part of the confusion came from An-ket. She is introduced toward the beginning of the story — she's something of a game-changer — then she disappears for a chunk of the book, then she comes back with a glossed over explanation, etc.
But An-ket is likeable. As is the heroine Julia. And while Simon takes some warming up to (it outright says on page 5 that his "misogyny was well known" ... I don't know that misogyny is the right word, but he's certainly a chauvinist for the first part of the book), he, too, eventually becomes a likeable character. Other characters like Simon's family and some smaller roles are all personable as well.
In addition to the characters (and despite the confusion), I enjoyed the Egypt connection and bit of magic. I guess I also liked the voice, because parts reminded me of a Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Castle)'s writing.