Tuesday, 29 November 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #231
Escape from the Harem - Mary Lyons
Mills & Boon Romance
Mills & Boon, 1986
From the back cover:
"It was six years since Leonie's fairytale marriage to the eldest son of the Sultan of Dhoman - and four years since she had escaped from his country, vowing never to see of speak to him again. She was tricked into breaking her vow when Badyr appeared in England, determined to take her and their daughter back with him.
But Leonie had learned to her cost that all the fabulous riches of her husband's lifestyle couldn't compensate her for the harshness she had endured in the palace. How could she bear to return?"
This is another one from the oldie pile!
The heroine Leonie is shocked when she meets her estranged husband Badyr, the hero, for the first time in years. After escaping from his civil war torn country, Leonie tried to put all her memories of her lonely marriage out of her mind and make a new life for herself and her daughter. Badyr has always known about his daughter but has waited until now to come back and claim both of them, he needed to rebuild and stabilise his country after his power-mad father almost ruined it. And he wanted to make it a better place for his wife and daughter to return to. Leonie is terrified of going back to the country where she felt so oppressed as well as returning to her less than perfect marriage, but for her daughter's sake she knows she has no choice.
Leonie quickly recognises all the change and good that Badyr has done for his country and they begin to grow close again. They marriage is stronger than ever and Leonie is very happy, until she discovers what Badyr did during the years they were apart, and is once again heartbroken.
This is an interesting and well executed book. The actual romance between the hero and heroine feels very real and I really responded to the hero and how he was not afraid to express his total love for the heroine. What I found particularly interesting about this book is that it actually raised and dealt with the subject of social and religious differences between the hero and heroine and their lives. There are many Sheikh romances that simply ignore these things, so it definitely added depth to this book.
However, as a western woman I couldn't accept the hero's other marriage. I know that it's an accepted and perfectly fine part of some eastern cultures, but for me I feel that it is a little upsetting, and doesn't fit with the 'romantic fantasy' that is an integral part of reading romances.
Unfortunately this put me off the book, but it was very enjoyable up until then...