The Sacred River (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Wendy Wallace

Scribner, 9781451658125, 304pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/16/2016)
Paperback (4/24/2014)

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A romantic, vivid novel about three women who leave Victorian London for Egypt—a tale of female empowerment, self-discovery, love, and the absolution that comes from facing the secrets of our pasts.

Harriet Heron’s life is almost over before it has even begun. At just twenty-three years of age, she is an invalid, overprotected 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 on 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 Louisa must confront the ghosts of her own youth.

The Sacred River is an indelible depiction of the power of women and the influence they can have when released from the confines of proper English society. In the tradition of Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 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. Sumptuous and mesmerizing, this provocative novel about finding your rightful place in the world is a beautiful, tantalizing read.

About the Author

Wendy Wallace, author of The Painted Bridge, is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer. Before she turned to fiction, she was a senior features writer for the London Times Educational Supplement for ten years and the author of a nonfiction book on life in an inner city primary school, Oranges and Lemons. Her second novel is The Sacred River. She lives in London.

Praise For The Sacred River: A Novel

"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 and Elijah's Mermaid

"Wallace succeeds in creating interesting women characters whose response to the expectations of Victorian England, their own prejudices and the situations in which they find themselves make for compelling reading. Wallace skillfully weaves the story, introducing details incidentally that suddenly loom large in the foreground. But it is the political and social unrest when it finally erupts that throws up The Sacred River's biggest surprise."

"This classic tale of a journey that leads to self-discovery is a lovely journey for the reader as well."

"A lush, original, and page-turning narrative—a lovely armchair journey to an Egypt of long ago."

"Engaging...there are delicious shades of Forster here. [Wallace is] a writer to watch."