Friday, February 10, 2012

The Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels

I have been in the mood for romantic suspense for the past few months now, and in particular, I have been focusing on Barbara Michaels. I haven't read her books in a long time, and I thought I would re-read them to see if they were as good as I remember. So far, I haven't been disappointed! I just finished reading The Sea King's Daughter, which is slightly different than the other woo-woo books published under the Michaels pseudonym. 

The Sea King's Daughter is more in the style of Elizabeth Peters. Sandy Bishop is the heroine. She lives with her mother and step-father and really has no interaction with or knowledge of her father. Once as a younger child, she received a package addressed to Ariadne Frederick, Sandy's birth name, with a ancient Greek statue of Ariadne. Frederick is the last name of Sandy's biological father, an archaeologist. Sandy's mom left him when Sandy was a baby because Frederick loved his job more than his family. When the story really starts, Sandy is trying to figure out what to do with herself because she hasn't excelled in academics, but has excelled in athletics, especially swimming. Sandy wants the excitement that she had the previous summer when she and her step-dad found a submerged galleon off the Florida coast. The find got Sandy in National Geographic, and it caught Frederick's eye. Frederick comes to Florida to convince Sandy to help him search for submerged treasure in Greece. Sandy takes little convincing, and after her graduation from university, Sandy tells her parents that she is going to tour Europe. Yep, Sandy lies. Once Sandy gets to Greece, she starts to experience some feelings of deja vu, wondering if the feeling has some tie to her name Ariadne. Things don't start out well for Sandy on the island of Thera where Frederick is doing his archaeological work. Frederick is distant and uncaring. No one should swim or dive alone, and he leaves her un-watched as she swims. Sandy is starting to rethink her decision when she meets Jim in the village. Of course, the pair fall in love. Things get complicated when Jim's boss, Sir Christopher turns out to be a former cohort of Frederick's. Then Keller, a former German WW II officer, and his mistress, Kore, turn out to be living in a villa on the island. The foursome have a past history with Jim's uncle, who was killed during WWII. Earthquakes, volcanic action, and female deity worship add more spice to the story. 

I really did enjoy the story. If you read Peters and Michaels, both pseudonyms for Barbara Mertz, you know that the books have a very similar feel to them. The Sea King's Daughter provided plenty of thrills, archaeology, and mystery for me. Yes, I guess you could say that the relationship between Sandy and Jim seems rushed, but it's fiction, people! The book gave me what I wanted: some romance, some suspense, and a break from the harsh reality of the real world. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how Sandy and Jim would untangle all the clues and figure out who the bad guy was. As Sandy mentions in the end, she learns that no one is all good or all bad. Definitely a winner!

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