What the River Knows
by Isabel Ibañez
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Pub Date 31 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 28 Nov 2023
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books
The Mummy meets Death on the Nile in What the River Knows, Isabel Ibañez's lush, immersive historical fantasy set in Egypt and filled with adventure, a rivals-to-lovers romance, and a dangerous race.
Bolivian-Argentinian Inez Olivera belongs to the glittering upper society of nineteenth century Buenos Aires, and like the rest of the world, the town is steeped in old world magic that’s been largely left behind or forgotten. Inez has everything a girl might want, except for the one thing she yearns the most: her globetrotting parents—who frequently leave her behind.
When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez inherits their massive fortune and a mysterious guardian, an archeologist in partnership with his Egyptian brother-in-law. Yearning for answers, Inez sails to Cairo, bringing her sketch pads and a golden ring her father sent to her for safekeeping before he died. But upon her arrival, the old world magic tethered to the ring pulls her down a path where she soon discovers there’s more to her parent’s disappearance than what her guardian led her to believe.
With her guardian’s infuriatingly handsome assistant thwarting her at every turn, Inez must rely on ancient magic to uncover the truth about her parent’s disappearance—or risk becoming a pawn in a larger game that will kill her.
What the River Knows is the first book in the thrilling Secrets of the Nile duology.
"Expertly plotted, explosively adventurous, and burning with romance." - Stephanie Garber #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Take a plucky heroine, a historically grounded Indiana Jones-esque adventure through Ancient Egypt, and add a surprising dollop of magic — it’s a recipe for a delightful read." - Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 695 members
I don’t have adequate words for how much I loved this book. The characters, the romance, the setting, the twists. The intensity of emotions I felt while reading this book, especially THAT ending… well suffice to say I think I need a support group.
I loved Inez. Whit. Just everything.
If I loved it less, I might be able to talk about it more.
1000/ 5 stars
This. Book. As soon as I saw the pitch for "The Mummy meets" I didn't have to read any further. And then I binged this book in a handful of hours. Buckle up, because I'm about to give you a long list of reasons why this book is amazing. The short version is: a great heroine, a believable romance with hilarious and flirty banter, adventure, plot twists (and plot turns and plot bombs), ancient Egypt, magic, and an overall fun plot that kept me hooked beginning to end. Will the end of this book make you need therapy? Maybe. But it's so worth it.
Let's start with Inez. She's immediately a fun, strong, stubborn heroine that is easy to root for. Her cousin Amaranta sums up her personality perfectly in the beginning of the book. "Your curiosity will get you in trouble one day." Inez is strong willed in the best way and despite having a relatively sheltered upbringing, she immediately finds her own strength and resilience. Inez will stop at nothing to get answers about what happened to her parents, and that is what I loved most about her. Her natural curiosity for the world paired with a stubbornness to figure out what happened to her family made her so easy to root for. She's smart, she's witty and funny, and she always finds a way out of the trouble she willingly and not-so-willingly gets herself into. I loved seeing Inez's growth throughout the book and how certain aspects of her personailty tie into the plot (if you've read this....you know what I mean.) I can't wait to see her develop further in the next book, which seems unbearably far away.
Next we've got the love interest, Mr. Whitford Hayes. A morally gray bad boy who's actually a gentleman at heart, he serves as the perfect swoony foil and romantic interest for Inez. He's smart and whitty just like she is, and knows his way around the underbelly of Cairo. He makes you swoon with his protectiveness, his charm, and his soft heart. Their banter is 100% the best part of this book. I can also see in their relationship why The Mummy is mentioned in this pitch--I may or may not have kept picturing Rick and Evie. Also, young Brendan Fraser is exactly how I pictured Whit (even if I wasn't supposed to...oops).
I also loved the side characters and how complex they turned out to be. Isadora is a character who is introduced later in the book and I immediately wanted to know so much more about her. She's beautiful, a perfect lady, but also willing to shoot crocodiles in the head. I really hope we see more of her in the sequel, too. "She looked like a damsel from a romance novel, just waiting to be saved. Except I couldn't get the picture of her firing that gun out of my mind."
I loved the ups and downs with Tio Ricardo, too, a really interesting character with hidden depths. I would say more about his character and his relationship with Inez, but there's a lot of spoilers tied up in that so I won't. Let's just say I want to see more of him and his backstory in the next book!
The plot is another huge plus to this book. Ancient Egypt, a mystery, magic, adventure...what more could you want? As one of those kids who had that golden Egyptology books....this book immediately captured and held my interest. I loved the intertwining of magic/ magical realism and real history. The book starts a little slow, but once we get into the real plot things go quickly and don't slow down. This book is the perfect adventurous read, especially if you like ancient Egypt like I do (and even if you don't--it's really that good.).
I could go on and on and on about how much I loved this book, but let me just sum it up with this: READ IT. You can thank me later.
I absolutely adored this book. Archeology, intrigue, adventure. romance– this book has it ALL. I am here for a MMC who broods but has a heart of gold; and, to boot, a young heroine who won’t take “no” for an answer as she undertakes a quest to find out what happened to her parents as they searched for treasure in Egypt. The banter between Inez and Whit was perfection! But the cliffhanger is completely MURDERING me and why must I wait SO LONG for the next installment. I am so happy I preordered this book (out November 14th!) but I am even happier that I got my hands on an early release copy.
What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez is a lush, enchanting and beautifully written story filled with romance, action, and one hell of an adventure!
Isabel Ibañez creates a stunning magical world. Like wow! It’s pure magic inside her stories.
The world-building was exquisitely crafted. It felt very fresh and unique.
The story has a steady pace, the characters are developed, and the passion between the characters was insanely intriguing. I loved the characters so much, their interactions with one another were so real and believable.
I love how the author writes in a descriptive style, so you feel a part of the story.
From page one I was very intrigued by the plot. It was so beautifully written and well developed.
An adventurous filled historical fantasy romance set in Egypt filled with personality, witty banter and characters who you’ll never want to leave.
This badass rivals-to-lovers should be at the top of your tbr list and it’s one you will not want to miss!
“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Thank You NetGalley and Wednesday Books for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
Thank you to Wednesday Books for sending me an early copy of this in exchange for review! I screamed when I saw this arrive in my email.
This was a wild ride! First thing you can definitely tell the author did extensive research for this book and I loved it so much. I loved the characters Inez the main character she was so stubborn and just wanted to find out what happen to her parents, Whit the morally gray assistant. this story is fast paced set against Egypt as a backdrop and I absolutely devoured it in one sitting.
I was immediately swept away with this story and characters. Inez and Whit have flawless Rick and Evie energy.
This is a historical fantasy with great pacing and I thought the romance was splendid; so natural and satisfying to watch evolve. The immersive writing places the reader directly into the atmospheric setting. This is a complex story and it was so well executed. What the River Knows is not to be missed and I will already be looking forward to Isabel Ibañez’s next masterpiece.
A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press & Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book was so good, so well-written, I could really imagine myself with Inez in Egypt. The tension and banter between the main characters is incredible and I was transfixed. I couldn't stop reading. They made me smile countless times. Their chemistry were remarkable and Whitford is the perfect swoon-worthy character.
If you love a story with ancient magic objects, quests like in Indiana Jones, a strong female character who fights for herself, amazing chemistry between the two main characters in an Egyptian setting, this book is for you. I cannot recommend it enough.
I already preordered it and cannot wait to do a reread in November. Thank you to let me read this advance copy. It is an amazing read.
I loved this book! Unputdownable adventure romance! It’s on point with The Mummy and Death on the Nile comparison. Twists and turns that kept me guessing. I love Inez and Whit’s story, but that cliffhanger! I foresee some heartache before they see this through.
Totally immersive, this action packed historical fiction kept me up reading late into the night. Mystery, deception, betrayal, romance - I’m still trying to figure it all out. I love the way the magical element was lightly woven into the story, it wasn’t the main focus but very believable. The banter between Inez and Whit was *chef kiss*! I really enjoy the author’s writing style. Please don’t make us wait too long for book 2, that cliffhanger was GAH!
Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the e-arc.
This book has everything I love in a fantasy romance: thrilling action, exciting adventures, vibrant characters, complicated family dynamics, and best of all, a slow burn romance that will keep you turning the page, hoping for more. The magic system in this book is so interesting and unlike anything I've read before. I love the idea of finding a random trinket that does something silly like a necktie that produces boiling water??
All in all, this book was a riveting adventure with twists and turns in every chapter. This book will keep you guessing until the end. And when I say twists, I mean it!!
Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review!
The worlds Ibanez creates are always so immersive and detailed and I was very much looking forward to entering this one. I love the historical aspect of this one - it further cements Ibanez's writing acumen as before she could take all the creative liberties she wanted since she was the creator, but now ensuring details are accurate had to come into play. You can tell how much research went into this book, but none of the details are stuffy or overwhelming.
This book kept me guessing until the end, and honestly past that as it does end on a major cliffhanger. I love Inez and Whit's banter, how his background is slowly teased out of him, and his snippet's of POV were perfectly placed to keep readers on their toes. I enjoyed the element of magic interspersed throughout; it made an already imaginative read more fantastical.
I basically inhaled this book and already know a reread is in the future. In the words of Shakespeare's Antony (Antony and Cleopatra Scene 4, Act 15): "I am dying, Egypt, dying" for the next book.
For fans of A River Enchanted or Six Crimson Cranes, this is an intense wild ride that will take readers to beautiful Buenos Aires and to the edge of Egypt and back! Embracing 1800’s old world magic, adventure, a thrilling archeological hunt, history, fantasy and much more, author Isabel Ibanez will increase her fan base by the thousands. This is for every young woman who decides to boldly take a stand against the status quo, even if that means standing against your family. I flew through this book in one day! The strong character development, world building and characters to fall in love with (and laugh with), will make this an instant NYT bestseller. Egypt is a place where we need to travel to more often in books. There wasn’t a moment I didn’t love. I HIGHLY recommend every school library to have multiple copies of this book.
Much gratitude to St. Martin's Press, Hodder & Stoughton publishers via NetGalley for the honor of reading this arc! I read this voluntarily and all opinions are my own.
Review to be posted to Amazon, Goodreads, Tiktok and Instagram around public publication date.