Don't you just know this book will get your summer off to a
sizzling start with a title like THE WIDOW AND THE SHEIKH
to live up to! Marguerite Kaye has been writing some great
historical romances and I could not wait to see what she'd
reveal for us next. The time period is 1815, and this
series is called 'Hot Arabian Nights'.
Julia Trevelyan wakes in a travelling encampment in the
Sahara Desert, to find that her Arab guides have stolen
everything but the tent in which she sleeps, and fled.
She's at an oasis, luckily, but has no transport, and all
her precious sketches and samples of plants are missing.
Disaster. As she's still adapting, a travelling merchant
called Azhar arrives at the oasis on his camel, trailing
mules. Azhar speaks English and he assures Julia - who is
somewhat wary - that no countryman of his would offend the
rules of hospitality in this way. The thieves must be
foreign. But he can only escort Julia if she comes on his
route, not hers.
I really enjoy Julia's determination to be called Cornish
rather than English, and I have to admire her decision to
dispense with a corset in the blistering heat and grit. As
a woman of science Julia makes a splendid and unusual
character. Botany has drawn her to many exotic locations
but since the death of her husband from tropical fever, she
has had to travel alone. She's able to discuss the region's
political affairs with the trader, when many women of her
day were brought up to hold no opinions nor express any.
The handsome Sheik Azhar is widely travelled with his silks
and spices, and has not been home for ten years. He omits
to mention that he doesn't intend to stay. We are about to
learn the reason.
The descriptions of the desert and town are breathtaking
and realistic, full of energy and colour. We can taste the
lemon sherbet and bitter dark coffee. Plants are considered
quite appropriate for women to study, as herbalists are
needed in this open country where resources are scarce.
Another resource we learn about is a diamond mine, worked
by skilled labour, the centre of wealth. Author Marguerite
Kaye has as usual thoroughly researched in order to bring
this world to life, from the palace garden needed to grow
rose petals to the rule of Napoleon in Egypt. I don't know
if she included the Kama Sutra in her reference works, for
this Arabian Nights fantasy, but THE WIDOW AND THE SHEIKH
is a breathtaking, sexy adult romance.
Abandoned in the desert, Julia Trevelyan finds herself at
the mercy of Azhar, an imposing yet impossibly handsome
Arabian merchant. Determined not to be intimidated by her
rescuer—or their sizzling attraction!—she asks for his
But Prince Azhar is in fact the rightful heir to the Qaryma
throne, returned from exile to take back his inheritance! He
knows a dalliance with the enticing English adventuress is
out of the question, yet he can't deny the temptation to
claim both his throne…and Julia!