+book cover image taken from author's site
Book: The Pharaoh’s Secret
Author: Marissa Moss
Summary: The Pharaoh’s Secret is the story of Talibah, who with her father and younger brother Adom are finally making the trip to see Egypt. The place where both their parents were born and raised. After receiving a strange gift from a mysterious passer-byer Talibah finds herself dropped in the middle of a mystery that reaches back thousands of years ago. Now she is being plagued by nightmares and a ghostly voice urging her to find the answer. What started off as a nice family trip to the homeland has now turned into a quest to find out what happened to the Pharaoh Queen, Hatshepsut and her high priest, Senenmut and will end ultimately discovering who she is as a person.
My Thoughts: I have to say after I read this book I cried. I know weird huh? But let me explain the back story before I get to why this children’s fiction story made a 26-year-old cry. Back in 2009 I had just moved into my new apartment to start Graduate school. A friend and I decided to make a trip to the local discount book store and I was wondering around just to see what they had I wasn’t planning on buying anything but I already had 3 books in my hand. Then I stumbled upon this book. I had seen the author before, Marissa Moss is best known for her Amelia books. I was intrigued because of the subject matter but I decided not to get it. I asked my friend to take a picture of the cover and send it to my phone (which at the time didn’t have a camera) so I wouldn’t forget the title and could find it again. That was the plan but the next time I got a chance to look for the book I couldn’t find it. Not at the original store, neither of the three larger chains, and none of the libraries. For two years I looked for this book, I kept the photo in every cell phone I switched to over the next two years as a reminder. Anytime I was in a space that sold books I looked for it. It soon became an obsession. It never occurred to me to look online at Amazon, although I did look online for the major book chains without any luck. Personally I just prefer to buy books in bookstores and not online, I’ve had bad experiences buying books online. I thought I would never find it again and cursed myself for not getting it when I had a chance.
A couple of months ago, Borders announced they were closing their store in Greensboro. So started the weekly visit to the store as they started cutting prices. I got a lot of great books that I was looking for. Towards the end they were quickly running out of books, and the children section was the first to go. One Saturday I told my friend that it would be my last time going as the pickings were getting really slim. I went in not thinking to find anything as the employees had assured everyone that they didn’t have any backroom product so what was out there on the floor was it. I was in the adult romance section, deciding to not even look in the children or teen sections or the normal sections I usually focus on, for some really cheap quick reads when I gasped and made a mad dive for the bookshelf. The women surrounding me were freaked out I know because they all started taking slow steps back. But I couldn’t help it, there sitting between a romance novel with a barely dressed woman clinging to a pirate on it’s cover and another one with equally undressed woman in the height of pleasure as two small red streams of blood decorated her throat and a pale man off to the side was the book that had eluded me for two years.
I know for sure that book wasn’t there before, I had systematically looked at each section, each row, each shelf, each book spine every single time I came in. And before hand I made sure I searched the computer for their in store stock every visit and it always said out of stock. So when had they gotten this book? When was it put out? Why was it in the adult section? I didn’t know and really didn’t care. It was mine! And for less than $3. You would have thought I would have came home and read it cover to cover but I didn’t. It was in the middle of the semester and I had already started another book. Plus I had a long list of books I needed to read from previous visits. But it kept nagging me until I gave in last week and read it.
With out giving away a lot I have to say the story speaks on the lost of a parent and how children deal with that lost. And what spoke to me the most was how this young girl was dealing with losing a mother at a young age and then to go to a place that focus a lot on the afterlife is an emotional thing. When I lost my father in 2009 I often found myself wondering where his soul had gone. Was he in Heaven and fulfilled or was he stuck somewhere because he was taken from us unexpectedly when he had wanted to do so much more. I was raised as a Christian so I know what the bible says but I’ve always liked learning about other religions and what they had to say about death. I’ve always had a fascination with Ancient Egypt in particular and I’ve read the Book of the Dead in highschool. And I know how important the soul was to them, and how the soul played out in the Afterlife. So when I lost my dad it was the first time that someone close to me had died and it forced me to actually wonder what would happened next. The story forced me to deal with emotions I didn’t realize I still had. Thoughts I’ve never vocalized. It was emotional overload and well I cried. I’m sure that’s not want Moss’s goal was but this story was written so skillfully that it evoke powerful emotions in me. And I think that was Moss’s goal.
Now that I’ve read it a sense of peace has come over me. The obsession had been fed and I kind of understand why I was possessed with the need to read this book. It’s weird that a book not originally written to help the reader come to turns with lost did exactly that for me. I wasn’t expecting such a reaction when I picked it up but there is a reason there is a saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I seriously think this book would be a great read for all ages.