Karla's Reviews > Desert Love

Desert Love by Joan Conquest
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Apr 19, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: ebook, sheiks-and-harems, romance-pub-1920s-1930s, fluffy-fiction-1900-to-1930, 2-and-a-half-stars
Read from December 06 to 22, 2011

2.5 stars
If you've read The Sheik by Edith Hull, you know how awesome a vintage sheik story can be. I thought this one would at least approach it in terms of delicious awesomeness, even if it didn't equal it. But it was a huge disappointment.

The story started out pretty strongly, with Englishwoman Jill, smug in her English superiority, bouncing around the Middle East in her job as lady's companion. One day while she's hanging around with a bunch of other vacationers, she sees a dusky and attractive native and has her curiosity piqued. When everyone else embarks for the next stage of the tour, she "wanders off" so she can get left behind. After a near escape by a slaver, she is rescued by her dusky stranger and gets swept up in the romance of the desert and her very Arab suitor.

Hahmed, the hero, isn't the alpha of Hull's Sheik. He's strong and traditional, sure, but his dialogue is saturated with a soggy and flowery style that is so damn opaque after awhile as to be nearly incoherent. If he's a man of action, it's swamped by declarations of love and intentions and praises of the Arabic mind and soul and blah blah blah. Oh shut up already. It's the kind of Oriental fetishism one finds resurgent among certain circles on the political left these days.

Jill's virtue is never endangered when Hahmed is in the vicinity. There's no sobbing and rending of the soul as poor Diana underwent in Hull's novel. So instead of a bodice ripper, what "Desert Love" gives the reader is endless navel-gazing on East vs. West and characters who take second place to Conquest's prosey tendency towards the abstract ultraviolet. Instead of meat-and-potatoes clash of cultures, we get long-winded explorations of relativism. It's DENSE and, ultimately, not very entertaining.
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Reading Progress

12/06/2011
9.0% ""Those who know the race know that the Arab has a tremendous control over his emotions. He can love and kill in one moment, but until the woman is literally swept off her feet, or the man or woman is dead, in a heap, neither by voice or gesture will he betray the passion consuming him.""
12/06/2011
10.0% ""A soul-stifling mess to be found in the drab sideboards of most English households along with its sister made of a pastry so flimsy that it chokes, filled with a cream that is merely froth, the whole hiding its cheapness under an application of highly coloured paint essence, the consuming of which will prove as fatal as the Swiss roll."

Hey, you leave Lil' Debbie snacky cakes alone!

" 1 comment
12/06/2011
16.0% "He was used--oh, very used to the breaking in of women, for was not his name notorious in Northern Egypt? And were there not whispers of many, young and beautiful, who had mysteriously disappeared?

Oh dear. Jill, you are ska-rooed!

"
12/06/2011
16.0% ""But I have you now, beautiful maiden, and if you will not bend to my will, I will break you to it, even if I spoil your satin skin and the soles of your small feet by the lash of the whip!"

Edith Hull, oh what an awesomely trashy sheiky trend you spawned! :D

"
12/06/2011
19.0% "Our heroine doesn't mess around when faced with a villain and a drugged drink...and she has a hidden gun:

"I may look a fool, and I may act in a manner still more foolish, but I am not exactly what you would call a born fool! Now drink that, I am late already! And don't spill a single drop or I'll shoot you on the spot!"

"
12/13/2011
27.0% "Quirky little footnote: To revenge the lash or whip camels have been known even after a lapse of months to seize their victim, tearing and trampling him to pieces, and then with infinite relish proceed to roll time and again upon the remains.

Even if totally untrue, I love the idea of badass camels with murderous grudges.

" 1 comment
10/18/2013
27.0% "Quirky little footnote: To revenge the lash or whip camels have been known even after a lapse of months to seize their victim, tearing and trampling him to pieces, and then with infinite relish proceed to roll time and again upon the remains.

Even if totally untrue, I love the idea of badass camels with murderous grudges.

"
03/29/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Dec 24, 2011 03:50AM) (new)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Nothing beats The Sheik :D


Karla I think I spoiled myself for all time by having that be my first vintage sheik book. :D


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Hey..its free on Kobo ( and your review is there too!)
Im like you..a 2 star?..gotta check it out :)


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