by Carolyn Jewel, historical (2009)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-23099-2
Indiscreet is set in Turkey, which makes for an interesting setting for folks who are looking for a change of scenery from the ballrooms of London.
Edward Marrack, the Marquess of Foye, makes a stop at Büyükdere during his travel of the rest of Europe outside England, hoping to get away from the drama of his broken engagement. While catching up with the English expatriates in that city, he meets Sabine Godard and her uncle Sir Henry. Actually, he had seen her before when she was in London, but they hadn't officially been introduced to each other until now. They share an unfortunate common acquaintance in the Earl of Crosshaven, however.
About a year ago, Cross glibly told everyone in his club that he had succeeded in seducing Sabine, an act that caused Sabine to be ruined to the extent that she had to leave London with her uncle, her reputation in tatters. Foye couldn't get over how easily his friend ruined a woman's reputation without a shred of remorse, but that was before Cross stole Foye's fiancée behind his back and made a cuckold out of Foye.
Initially suspicious of Foye, Sabine soon warms to the gentleman who not only treats her with utmost respect but also listen to her instead of viewing her as an overeducated performing monkey. As for Foye, he believes that his heart has been hardened by his recent broken engagement, yadda yadda yadda, but he will soon fall in love with Sabine. However, they are in Turkey. If you have read enough Harlequin Presents, you will know that this, along with anywhere in the Middle-East, is the All Men Want To Rape Me zone. Therefore, Sabine will be in danger as a Turkish pasha decides to make her his.
The romance is sweet and sometimes heartwarming, as we have two pretty well-matched characters who don't try too hard to resist falling in love. Actually, Cross turns out to be a minor issue between them - the external conflicts including that of the Horny Turkish Pasha are what drive the story going. I have a harder time getting my attention engaged in all that drama arising from Foye trying to rescue Sabine because I can't overlook the fact that Sabine stupidly followed her uncle into danger in the first place.
Foye has warned her at least twice about not going anywhere near the randy pasha. Later, Sabine would admit that she knows all along that the naughty fellow has designs on her. And yet, when Foye tells her not to go to Nazim Pasha's palace where she and her uncle will be at the mercy of that man, she insists that she has to go because she believes that she owes her uncle for standing by her when she was ruined. When she inevitably ends up this close to being Sabine the Witless Harem Girl, predictably she's not too pleased with the result of her martyrdom. Then she wants to live. Sigh. Romance heroines, I tell you.
When it comes to everything else, Sabine seems like a sensible lady, so her obstinate determination to be stupid seems out of character and more like an obvious contrivance on the author's part to keep the story going.
Indiscreet is a well-written and very readable story. The romance is fine, even if a part of me feels that the two main characters fall in love too quickly and too early in the story. Unfortunately, I can never engage fully with the story via its many dramatic moments.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
Search for more reviews of works by this author: