by Victoria Woods
Publication Date: September 14, 2023
Source: Grey's Promotions
I received this book for free from Grey's Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
"Eight weeks excavating the Egyptian desert under a world-renowned archaeologist."
That’s what Kitty Taha expected when she accepted the position for a third-year field internship. She certainly never thought she’d find herself literally under said archaeologist.
Dr. James Campbell is everything Kitty was not expecting in a broody, moody, and hot as hell. She might have been able to excuse his mercurial ways, if only he hadn’t chosen violence and berated her in front of the entire dig crew and a collection of mummified cats. With no luggage, a sprained ankle, and a suspension notice from Dr. Jerk-Face Tight-Ass, her internship is already a complete disaster, and it’s only the second day!
If she wants to graduate with the rest of her class next year, Kitty needs to complete this internship as scheduled. Seeing no other option, she swallows her pride and decides to play nice—but she can barely offer a bogus apology complemented by her fakest smile before James completely disarms her, leaving her confused yet very turned on.
Can they keep their chemistry a secret? Or will her discovery of love and other things derail her career before it even starts?
A romance involving a budding Egyptologist who’s doing an internship in her dad’s homeland? Yes, please! Between my hieroglyphics-obsessed childhood and my curiosity about her finding her dad’s family, I was so ready for this book. Unfortunately, while both of those ended up being minor themes, it’s a decent age gap, professor/intern forbidden romance.
For Sanura, an eight-week internship at a dig in Egypt isn’t just a chance to get more experience in her field. It’s also a chance to explore her heritage, something that’s been hard to do since she and her mother lost touch with her Egyptian father’s side of the family after his death. But the internship seems doomed from the start. Her luggage has gone missing, the clothes her BFF lent her don’t fit, and Professor James Campbell, her new mentor, seems to have taken an immediate dislike to her. Considering Sanura can’t get the hot professor out of her mind, that’s going to be a problem in more ways than one.
Sanura and James have undeniable chemistry-with-a-capital-C. As for the relationship part, well, the whole thing is forbidden so there’s not so much on the getting-to-know-you side before the instalust kicks in. The book tilts heavily towards spicier scenes, especially if you like exhibitionism. There were some moments, like when they were talking about their work – something they’re both knowledgeable and passionate about despite their 15 year age gap – where I felt like they connected, but I would’ve loved to see more emotional depth to the relationship.
Maybe it’s because we only get Sanura’s POV, but I was never quite sure about James. It doesn’t help that they start off on completely the wrong foot, not to mention his usual brusque manner and general intolerance for anything he considers less than perfect. He does eventually open up more to Sanura, but as I mentioned before, it’s not quite enough, plus he develops a new jerk tendency. James is ridiculously jealous over her friendship with a fellow intern, despite Sanura’s repeated reassurances that she’d set appropriate boundaries. And yes, I do feel weird saying a character in student/professor relationship is actually capable of setting “appropriate boundaries” but here we are.
As for the family part or archaeology, it’s pretty much all overshadowed by the romance. There’s a few scenes of her investigating her family roots and there’s a bit of her longing and wonder about being in her dad’s native land and I enjoyed those immensely. The Egyptology was also pretty basic (at one point the professor explains cartouches to Sanura which is like elementary school level) but the mystery behind the temple’s builder unfolded in a very interesting way. I was a little put off by the ethical issues with the relationship between a mentor and an intern. That’s a me problem – it’s clear from the blurb that that’s where it’s going, but I thought there would’ve been some attempt to ameliorate them. Nah. And the way those issues are handled in the end left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Overall, while the chemistry between the main characters was amazing, the rest of the book didn’t work as well for me. This is the author’s debut novel however so I look forward to seeing her growth with her next book.
Content notes: View Spoiler »