I can't believe I waited so long to read this off my TBR pile. Started November reading on a great note!
Princess Katherine has always been destined for a political marriage. Her heart heavy, she prepares to meet her future husband—the man whisperers in his royal kingdom call the Beast of Hajar.…
Concealing his disfigurement from public scrutiny, Sheikh Zahir rules his country from within the castle walls, allowing no one in. Until duty demands he carry on the Hajar family dynasty, and allow his new bride to cross the threshold.
Zahir expects Katherine to flee at first sight. Yet her unflinching gaze fires Zahir's blood, their attraction burning hotter than the scorching desert sands.…
This is a re-telling Beauty and the Beast trope done so very well. Zahir should be required studying in how to do Alphas right - I loved him from the get-go. Katherine was no slouch either - her quiet determination made me connect with her early on.
Katherine, used to being the spare heir despite being the older sibling, was to be married to Zahir's brother Malik. She looks to keep said marriage to the same family in order to protect her younger brother (and heir to the throne), so she proposes an arrangement with Zahir. Malik and his parents died in a terrorist attack while in the public square; Zahir was badly scarred, walks with a limp, and suffers from PTSD and survivor's guilt. But he agrees with Katherine that for both of their countries' sakes, the marriage between families must happen.
Over the course of the story, both Katherine and Zahir learn to let go of their past hurts and move toward a loving marriage that started as an oath to their respective countries. This is a slow burn of a story with a lot of sexual tension. This was an emotionally satisfying read. I wished that I didn't wait so long to read it, but sheikhs are generally not my thing. The book ended my contemporary romance reading slump, which is another plus.
Bottom line: Keeper!
I don't give out five stars all that often, but this book deserves every one. There are two things you should know in advance of this review: 1) it is part of a series centering on the MacGregor family, but not the first in the series and 2) it can be read as a stand alone.
Trigger Warning: there is a rape scene (not graphic, more like implied with a little detail) in the prologue that does not involve the heroine, but she is affected deeply by it.
I am often at odds with many historical romances, for the historical accuracy often takes a back seat to the story. As a history major and all around history nerd, this little fact often takes me out of the story and sometimes gives me heartburn rage. This book was very well researched, but the historical accuracy (Battle of Culloden and the attempt to restore Bonnie Prince James to the English throne) does not read like a history textbook - this is a straight on romance. The historical details makes the book stronger and richer; it also supplies the reason for Big Conflict and the action scenes.
The Mythical Creatures Bible is another book I keep on my "Dip Into, Comfort" shelf. People have -- and continue -- to believe in so many amazing creatures. It's an eye-opener.
But the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews has almost as many and varied creatures. What a great series!
The Incryptid Series by Seanan McGuire is my absolute favourite for its collection and portrayal of really strange creatures -- and for its humour.
I know this is a really brief jumbled post. I had a put-the-book-down-crawl-into-bed headache yesterday and I'm trying not to whine about it here. Was horrible and I'm hoping, hoping, hoping it's gone not to return. When the headache's so bad I can't read, it's BAD.
Over the weekend I was curled up in my reading chair, not reading for once, and it occurred to me what an eclectic mix of books I keep on the shelves near it. Does everyone have that stash of books to dip into in different moods? Ignoring the bookcase double stacked with paperback fiction, these couple of eclectic shelves contain books that are soothing, inspiring, intriguing or just plain clever.
I thought I'd start by sharing the poetry book that I think even non-poetry lovers would enjoy, The Oxford Book of Short Poems.
It contains poems from several centuries, including gems like "Thistles" by Ted Hughes. Reading "Thistles" demonstrates the best part of the anthology: the poems are short; you're hit with a key idea, brilliant word play, visual imagery (generally, although this could just be how I read poetry) and a luxurious sense of enjoying a complete experience in the few words.
I enjoy poetry anthologies and have a few on my Eclectic Comfort shelves. Do you have any you recommend I add?