Although I don’t very often take part in cover reveals, it’s a real pleasure today to help share the new cover for Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan. It’s been available for kindle since June 2019, but the new cover provides the perfect opportunity for a relaunch – and I’m delighted to tell you that it’s now also available as a paperback. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation and support.
I suspect you might just know by now that I’m quite a fan of Gilli Allan’s wonderful writing. I’ve reviewed two of her earlier books here on Being Anne – Life Class and Torn (links are to my earlier reviews – there’s a lovely interview too, from 2015, if you’d like to find out a little more about the author). I’ve always said that she writes the kind of stories that I like to read. You’ll always find romance – but her characters tend to be a little different from the norm, her plots a little more unusual, and her writing is always a joy to read.
I had the honour and pleasure of being an early reader of this book, and I have shared my review twice before. I’m just so thrilled to see this new cover – I think it’s quite perfect, and the packaging now reflects and captures the lovely story that you’ll find within.
Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again. But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.
Treasure is not always what it seems.
Once more for my review, do you think? Yes, I think I really must…
Having so enjoyed the author’s earlier books, I was really rather looking forward to this one – and was delighted to find it had every quality I’d enjoyed about her writing.
An intriguing prologue sets the scene, and really drew me in – but I will admit that at the book’s opening I did find it quite difficult to engage with Jane, one of the book’s two main characters. But then so does Theo – although you’ll find that those first impressions are fairly soon overturned.
This is a book that rather defies classification by genre. Although there’s a strong element of romance, there’s a great deal more to its clever construction: as the attraction grows between its two main characters, there’s an engrossing historical mystery around the treasure of the title, all complicated by the politics of the academic world and the conflict between progress and the importance of preserving the past.
But there’s also an entirely unexpected element of darkness. Both characters have disturbing shadows in their pasts that make them the damaged and rather brittle people we first encounter, and their experiences are slowly revealed through the earlier part of the story in a way I found particularly effective.
I really enjoyed the way both Jane’s and Theo’s characters unfolded, as they slowly recognised their mutual attraction and demolished their personal walls. Having made so many mistakes in her past – for totally understandable reasons – Jane totally won me over, her quirkiness contrasted with a real drive and determination to make a success of her new business, with the strongest of personal reasons as to why it’s so important. (In passing, I must mention how well the author recreates the world of the conference organiser: anyone who’s ever done that job will have encountered the jobsworths whose mission in life seems to be making things more difficult…).
Theo’s a quite wonderful character, and I liked him very much – he has that stiffness and slight pomposity of his academic persona, and something of an obsession with his subject, but there’s a rather lovely softness and vulnerability beneath it all. There are some excellent peripheral characters too – a particularly convincing monster and “user” in Jane’s past, a partner in Theo’s whose behaviour is thoroughly shocking (but totally believable), and another who moves from charming to obnoxious as his true character is revealed.
I really loved the “treasure” thread and all the historical/archaeological context – the dig, the mystery, the red herrings, and the way everything is resolved. It’s so well handled, and really kept the pages turning, with real intrigue about the outcome and what it might mean for the characters. There’s an authenticity about it all that I very much enjoyed, and I found the depth of detail totally fascinating.
The writing is – as expected – excellent. The characters are so well developed, very real in the way they’ve been shaped by their past experiences. The author has a particular ease with dialogue, totally natural but always moving the story forward. The rhythm within the story’s telling really works – while the story necessarily lingers a little over the revelations of the past, the background punctuating and slowing the present day story, the later stages really pick up the pace and the pages turn increasingly quickly. And the book’s ending? Well, I thought that was just perfect…
I do so hope that this new cover will encourage new readers to discover Gilli Allan’s writing – they might well enjoy it as much as I always do…
About the author
Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage years. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction. After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.
Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.
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