Thursday, August 29, 2013


Avon Books, January 2013
Obtained via:  publisher
ISBN 978-0-06-166439-7
Fiction/ Romantic Adventure

Corpses, Mayan gods, corrupt antiquities dealers, jungle tombs and maybe a little romance are the setting for Elizabeth Lowell’s BEAUTIFUL SACRIFICE.

Archaeologist Lina Taylor has spent her entire life studying ancient Maya artifacts, between digs in South America with her father and teaching college students what she knows.  Lina’s ordered life spins out of control the moment her mother calls asking about some rare and valuable artifacts that have gone missing. 

Former immigration and customs enforcement agent Hunter Johnston is determined to find the missing artifacts in order to clear the name of his best friend.  And to find them, he enlists Lina’s help.  Hunter is just at home in the city as he is in the jungle and perhaps that commonality is what has been drawing him to sit in on Lina’s classes; that and her incredible and regal looks.

Elizabeth Lowell’s BEAUTIFUL SACRIFICE educates readers on the history of the Maya, ancient artifacts, greed, royalty and even introduces a well thought out and crafted Mayan god.  The descriptive settings, both urban and later jungle, are easily felt by readers and pull them into the story.  The Maya history and artifact details feel like something of a history lesson as the book unfolds.  For fans of learning along with their romance, Lowell does not disappoint in this area.  The heroine is a scholar as well as being a beautiful woman of Mayan royal descent.  She is strong, confident and comfortable in her combined worlds.  The combination is a lure that our hero finds irresistible.  Hunter is a modern day warrior with contacts both legal and not so legal.  He is both a gentlemen and a rogue with a determination that is matched by our heroine. 

Unfortunately, the story is so entrenched in Maya facts, lore, cults and history that the romance between the main characters is more sprung on readers than developed.  While Hunter’s character has his best friend Jace and his wife’s insights into his character for us to build on, Lena’s character must rely on the sparse emotional scenes shown as the danger ratchets and the two characters attempt to unravel the mystery of the missing artifacts.  Further emotionally distancing her is her royal bloodline and cold family members, one more distasteful than the next.  And when Jace is suddenly freed from suspicion, yet Hunter and Lina continue to run headfirst into obvious danger, the story really begins to stumble and become somewhat “expected”.

Elizabeth Lowell is a talented author who always does her research before penning her tales and it really shows in BEAUTIFUL SACRIFICE.  For this reader, a better balance between research and romance would have been necessary to take this story from interesting to truly unforgettable.  Still, BEAUTIFUL SACRIFICE is an interesting and well written story from an author that rarely disappoints.

Reviewed by T. Barringer

"This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book."

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