I won this book at a Goodreads giveaway. I had never heard of the author but the synopsis seemed interesting and it featured a courtesan, so I tried mI won this book at a Goodreads giveaway. I had never heard of the author but the synopsis seemed interesting and it featured a courtesan, so I tried my luck. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be one of my favourite readings but it still has some positive points.
Although it's a historical romance, with steamy scenes and a cover with a voluptuous woman in the arms of an alpha male, I enjoyed the parallel story with Nassar as the villain. That because it not only gave a boost to the story, which I feared would be limited to steamy encounters between the protagonists in gardens, tents and so on, but it also allowed to get to know a little of the berber tribes from North Africa. Most of the novels of this genre take place in England and a change of scenery was welcomed. Also, I loved how it dealt with destiny.
On the negative side, I had some problems with the protagonists. Not their depiction, since the couple does have some depth, more that others I've read about, but felt little chemistry between them, even if the temperature in the room would rise up whenever they were together. Actually this was other thing I didn't like. I'm okay with sexual tension, I like it and it works as it keeps the reader interested in reading what will come of that. But in this books it's just too much. The first part (which took me awhile to read) has only the said encounters between the protagonists in varied places and the reader is practically punched in the face with their sensuality. Alright, they're both drop-dead gorgeous, so sexy that both awake the animal instinct in the other, but the dialogues between the characters are restricted to the challenge between Shaheen and Allegra, where he says he will bed her and she denies it. And they're actually great characters, with troubled pasts that shaped what they were and how their relationship evolved. But their wounds are healed through inner monologues and there doesn't seem to be an openness of hearts. They perceive the other had a troubled past but they don't reveal themselves, they don't share their pains, and that gave an artificial appearance to their relationship. There's no real intimacy apart from the sexual one.
It is a good story but I think the relationship could have been better explored. Also I would prefer to have an ending in North Africa but didn't dislike it. Still I'm curious to read more by this author....more