Keywords: Archeology, cryptograms, puzzles; 1920's, Ireland; Celtic Folklore, light romance, healthy siblings.
In the 1920's Illinois, Sam Knox receives a damaged diary belonging to a catholic father from the 1700s. Before Sam can repair the diary, men attempt to steal it. The event sends Sam and her estranged best friend Jo on a train bound for New York. On board, they work with Jo's brother to decipher a puzzle in the diary. From New York, they take a steamer to Ireland where Sam finds an ancient relic used to invoke a curse. In a supernatural battle, good wins over evil and Sam decides she wants to be an archeologist.
Despite there being no big twist in the book, I enjoyed it. The plot was more action than riddles, which kept a good pace. The characters were well developed but I feel like there could have been more to show it. For example, in the very beginning of the book, Sam, the main character, is being talked over. I waited for a moment in the end of the book where she stands up and makes herself heard in a conversation, but it never happened.
This is set in the 1920s, but aside from a few prohibition references, it never really is a big plot point. The imagery was not flowery and over blown, and never took away from the scene, only added to it,.
All in all, this was a good book if it is a stand alone novel. But with the further possible character developments that could happen, this would be a stellar first book in a trilogy or even a longer series.
Other notes: The concept behind the story would make for an excellent escape room. Just saying.