Charline Ratcliff. Unfortunately, her past is a bit of a mystery. She was adopted at the age of 13 and, much to her frustration, has no memories of her life before that time. She is constantly haunted by strange dreams of a dark and barren land, where she is chased by something horrifying - but fortunately always awakens just before the danger catches up with her. One night, after a particularly stressful day of dealing with her demanding friends, Kayla goes out to the aptly named Club Destiny. While getting ready that evening, the beautiful Kayla looks into the mirror, only to find a strange face staring back at her. Confused and a little scared, she blinks and the image vanishes. She determinedly pushes the hallucination from her mind, and heads out to greet the night that will change her life, both past and present.
At the club, she suffers another hallucination, this time of a beautiful man coming toward her across the crowded dance floor whom no one else appears to see. She's not given much time to consider her increasing mental instability before she's interrupted by a charming Italian stranger. When he calls her the next day, she's surprised to hear herself agree to a date that evening. Once together again, their connection and attraction becomes increasingly apparent. To Kayla, it feels as though she has known him her whole life, or perhaps even longer. However, the handsome stranger, Paolo, is frustratingly enigmatic. His cryptic phrases and apparent ability to read Kayla's every thought and mood steadily increases her sense that he is keeping something from her. While they are together, strange phrases and foreign words begin to float unbidden across her mind with increasing frequency, and she starts to have inexplicable visions. Finally, his words resonate in her mind, bringing memory flooding back to her from the ancient past. She recognizes him as the reincarnation of her murdered husband Akhenaten, and slowly comes to realize that she herself is Nefertiti, the most beautiful Egyptian queen who ever lived. Kayla is then faced with a terrible choice: return to her past life and right a terrible wrong, but lose both the man she loves and her own life in the process, or stay in the present, finally reunited with the love she lost so long ago, but feeling the guilt of her selfishness for the rest of her mortal life.
The blend of ancient history, mysticism, mortal peril and passionate love are a force to be reckoned with in The Curse of Nefertiti. However, the beginning chapters move frustratingly slow with a few too many gratuitous sex scenes for my personal taste, leaving readers anxious for the action to start and impatient for the story of Kayla's past life to unfold. Fortunately, these chapters do contain occasional intriguing glimpses of Nefertiti's time in ancient Egypt, allowing readers to experience the confusion and curiosity of reincarnation with Kayla. While I had trouble with the writing style in the beginning, it improves over the course of the novel, and the flashbacks and scenes in Egypt are captivating and written in a style that evokes the era. There were a few aspects of the plot that I wish had been more thoroughly explored and developed, especially for them to have the desired impact on the story. However, the bits of history that the author weaves into the story are a excellent touch, giving richness to the tapestry of heritage against which the story is set. The strong female protagonist is also a refreshing and empowering feature of the novel. While Paolo is certainly a major presence in the story, it ultimately falls to Kayla to save the country and the people she loves, not needing the male hero to ride in on his white horse to save the day. The Curse of Nefertiti truly is Kayla's story, and the final lines of the epilogue powerfully echo this sentiment.
Note: This novel is for mature audiences.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel from the author. This does not affect my review. Please see my full review policy.
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