30 Books in 30 Days - Day 9: Favourite book to give as a gift
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
This is not my favourite book in the Amelia Peabody series. That honour goes to He Shall Thunder In The Sky. However, the simple reason I always give this one as a gift is because it is the first in the series and whenever I gift a book, I hope that the recipient will enjoy it so much that they will be inspired to read other books in the same series/by the same author, so it makes sense to gift the first book in the series!
In this book, we are introduced to Amelia Peabody, spinster and forthright narrator. The whole series is meta fiction and is supposedly based on the author's discovery of a series of diaries belonging to Ms Peabody and in later books, to various members of her family. She is a strong-minded and well-educated woman at the end of the nineteenth century. In the same way that Phryne Fisher appeals to me because she ignores the social conventions that restricted what was expected of women, Amelia does the same. I suspect that were I to meet her in real life she would irritate me beyond belief - she is opinionated, forthright and convinced that she is always right - but on the page she is a dream to read about. Her confessions to her diary allow the reader to read between the lines and understand what is really going on and how she really feels, particularly when we start to get the perspectives of other characters on a situation and see things from their points of view.
The books also allow me to indulge my love of Ancient Egypt. Although they are set mainly at the beginning of the twentieth century, Peters' knowledge of Egyptian archaeology shines through, but at no point does it ever feel that we are being given an information 'dump'. The facts are seamlessly woven into the narrative so we have enough to understand without feeling overwhelmed by them.
The Amelia books are a combination of archaeology, adventure, thriller, murder mystery and romance, so there's something for most people there.
When I redecorated my study, I chose to have literary prints from my favourite books on the walls. Whilst I couldn't find anything official for Amelia, I was lucky enough to find a fabulous picture on Pinterest, which now graces my wall. (For more of the artist's work click here).
As a result of my interest in these books, I also had the good fortune to discover another series, which anyone who loves Amelia, will also love - the Meredith Pink books by Fiona Deal. These are set in modern Egypt, but draw on ancient Egypt and its rulers. Any book that leads me to discover another fictional world to explore is a good one for me!