Review of ‘Women of the Dunes’ by Sarah Maine

This is a well-crafted and atmospheric mystery novel. I was impressed with the plot and the characterisation. The setting is also very appealing. However, I found the book over-long (too much uninteresting dialogue). The author has a habit of tacking on extra bits to her sentences, which would have been more effective as smaller sentences. Mostly I enjoyed the novel but I wasn’t left with a wish to read more of her work.

The setting is an isolated part of Scotland over three time periods – Viking, Victorian and now. The majority of the story takes place in the present day, with the other times woven in. Libby Snow, an archaeologist, is visiting a possible burial mound on the Sturrock estate, in preparation for a dig later that year. She has a personal connection to the area, involving her grandmother and a lost artefact, although she’s not going to tell anyone yet. Various mysteries unfold, right until the end of the novel. I can’t really explain more without giving the plot away.

If you have an interest in archaeology and are a fan of slower-paced mystery stories which have a hint of romantic tension, this book is for you. I did get impatient with it sometimes. I didn’t like the main character, Libby. She was always wondering about the family set-up of the Sturrocks (the estate owners) and listening to their mundane conversation. Unfortunately, she was a dull protagonist.

First published in 2018.

10 thoughts on “Review of ‘Women of the Dunes’ by Sarah Maine”

  1. If this wasn’t so slowly paced, it would be right up my alley. So thanks for the heads up about that.

    This was a very helpful review.

  2. Eeek! A full protagonist huh? Well, since I am drawn by this gorgeous cover and the fact that it’s set in three different timelines, I think I’ll give this one a go. And it seems like you enjoyed it a bit as well so that’s a plus! ❤️❤️🤩

    1. I did like this book, I just didn’t find the main character engaging enough! I think some readers might really love the book 🙂

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