Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems.
This book centres around two main characters, Jane and Theo. Just as it real life, it takes a little while to get to know them and to understand what makes them tick. And when we do we can really enjoy this story about them, although it’s not all plain sailing for them.
It’s not a straightforward romance for a variety of reasons, and there’s so much more going on too. We get a good look into the worlds of academia and conference organising, both of which are very interesting, if competitive. We see how the need for continuous ‘improvements’ and ‘steps forward’ can be at loggerheads with respecting and conserving history. This historical facet concerns the buried treasure that is referred to in the book’s title.
There is an edginess to the novel. There are some dark skeletons lurking in cupboards that need to first be let loose and dealt with. They have a lot of issues to deal with to move on and at least try to find some happiness in their lives.
The mystery in the story is original and cleverly constructed. Several times I was sure I’d worked it out, but no, there was another ingenious twist and I was back to square one!
This is an enjoyable, slightly challenging read that gives you a tantalising mystery to solve and plenty to think about.
Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.
Currently published by Accent Press, each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.
Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work, published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’.
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