Alyssa reviews Lilies on Sand by Amelia Ellis

This month I’m reviewing Lilies on Sand by Amelia Ellis, the sequel to The Lion’s Circle, which I reviewed last month. If you read my review last month, you might remember that I was a bit underwhelmed by the first book in the series. I am pleased to report that the series does improve with the second book: the pacing is much neater, and I wasn’t left wondering at irrelevant details. I think by now I can safely try to classify this book series as a combination of mystery/private investigator and slice of life. (This isn’t a genre I’m extremely familiar with, so perhaps the slice of life bit is common to P.I. novels.)

On the subject of lesbian content, I was at first somewhat worried. We learn at the start that Nea’s recent lover from book one is no longer with her, with few details, and Nea goes on to date a couple guys in this volume. Nea as the narrator has a tendency to skimp on information about emotional events, and to put off actually acknowledging situations until later, so while information on her ex is vague at first, we do eventually learn what happened. While Nea commits herself to a man in this volume, we also see, from her perspective, a romance developing between her close friend and a new client, both of whom are women. I enjoyed this storyline, and it’s also accompanied by themes of growing friendship and family. Now that I have read two of the books, I feel I am getting to know the cast of characters that surrounds Nea and to empathize with them— their lives are part of the ongoing story being told here.

The plot is interesting, with an ongoing puzzle that stretches around the globe left for Nea’s new client by the girl’s grandmother. I didn’t try myself, but there are a least a couple puzzles in this mystery that the reader can solve on their own, which I believe lend merit to all the bits we can’t participate in solving. (I suspect you could also play along by looking up various coordinates on Google Earth, but I haven’t tried it myself.)

I have one concern which I can’t properly address here. There is a section of the story wherein Nea and her client are helped in a tight spot by a group of Navajo people. With any portrayal of a Native American people in literature, I am going to worry about how the portrayal is being handled; however, I do not have the knowledge base to determine how respectful or accurate this part of the story is.

Overall I enjoyed Lilies on Sand, and am considering reading numbers three and four of the Nea Fox series.

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