The Sacred River

Wendy Wallace / Fiction

Book cover

UK Publisher

Simon & Schuster (WEL)

US Publisher


Date Published

April 24th, 2014


Presses de la Cite (French)
Heyne Verlag (German)

Harriet Heron’s life is almost over before it has even begun. At just twenty-three years of age, she is an invalid, over-protected and reclusive. Before it is too late, she must escape the fog of Victorian London for a place where she can breathe. Together with her devoted mother, Louisa, her god-fearing aunt, Yael, and a book of her own spells inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Harriet travels to a land where the air is tinged with rose and gold and for the first time begins to experience what it is to live. But a chance meeting on the voyage to Alexandria results in a dangerous friendship as Louisa’s long-buried past returns, in the form of someone determined to destroy her by preying upon her daughter. As Harriet journeys towards a destiny no one could have foreseen, her aunt Yael is caught up in an Egypt on the brink of revolt and her mother must confront the spectres of her own youth. Award-winning journalist and writer Wendy Wallace spins a tale of three women caught between propriety and love on a journey of cultural awakening through an exquisitely drawn Egypt. In prose both sumptuous and mesmeric, she conjures a sensibility akin to that of E M Forster and Merchant Ivory.


It is the political and social unrest when it finally erupts that throws up The Sacred River’s biggest surprise

- The Camden Review

Harriet is a wonderful character and I loved the way she grew and blossomed as a person over the course of the novel

- SheReadsNovels

Exquisitely written. A haunting and mystical story of three women who search for freedom, whether in Victorian England or the tombs of ancient Egypt

- Essie Fox, Author of The Somnambulist

I adored this book's unique setting. The minutiae of daily life in Egypt at the end of the 19th century were fascinating and masterfully woven into the story, never detracting from the action. The three women were distinctive and exquisitely drawn...The book is built on thorough research, but at its heart is character and an extraordinary setting. I wanted to buy my ticket for a Nile cruise the moment I had closed the last page.

- Novelicious

A lush, original, and page-turning narrative.

- Publisher's Weekly

This site uses cookies - by continuing to use this site you are agreeing to the use of cookies.