I read this book AGES ago; it would have been early eighties and it was one of my first historical fiction experiences. Picked up for what would be an exorbitant amount today, at a rattey second hand book shop somewhere in the middle east. I enjoyed it throughly and became quite deeply addicted to historical romance for some years as a result of this book.
I came across it on Goodreads a while ago, read the reviews, raised my eyebrows thought ‘really?’ and went off to re-read it. In review the various comments readers have made about it are quite interesting... and yes, many are good points however;(view spoiler)[
While the age difference described between the heroine and hero would be totally illegal today in most of the western world. It would not be so in all of the third worlds, it was not unheard of in the era in which it was written and it would not even have been worth remarking upon in the era in which it was set.
There is a rape near the begining that is vivid enough to be really quite disturbing, while I read it originally without thinking about it twice, re-reading it in 2011 – well it is certainly not something a romance would write today. It is however considerably more REAL than a lot of the romantic mush that is churned out now.
The fact that our heroine ends up happily and lovingly married to the man who raped her is today, politically incorrect. The fact that she did not enjoy the rape is interesting in it's accuracy; women being raped mostly do NOT like it, but modern fiction would be more likely to make it more of a 'seduction' or represent it as enjoyable it in order to justify the ending.
It is interesting that I can read it and enjoy it through the memory of how I felt about reading it the first time but still have a disturbing double image of what I would be thinking if I read it now for the first time. If nothing else, it is very encouraging to know how far the sexual politics of the western world have come 1970’s – 2010’s. (hide spoiler)]