Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 15th 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
WHAT USE ARE DRAWING-ROOM MANNERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT?
Falling unconscious in the Egyptian sand at Cleo Valsac's feet is not part of Lord Quintus Bredon Deverall's plan. He's supposed to be whisking this young widow away from her father's dusty camp and back to England—to her aristocratic grandfather and a respectable husband.
Despite Cleo's strong-willed nature, she can't help but feel comforted by Quin's protective presence. But she has no idea of this wounded stranger's true identity…or of the passion that will begin to burn between them under the heat of the desert sun!
I was swept away by this novel. Utterly and completely swept away. I read it in one day. The setting was new and refreshing for a historical romance, and the characters and plot were sharply written. It made for a reading experience that was awing and richly enjoyable. I want to read this book all over again.
I adored Quin. He appears reserved in many ways, but he's also daring. If I had to pick one word to describe him, I would say honourable. The cuckoo in the nest of an aristocrat, Quin is determined to make his own place in the society in which he was raised, with a title and land of his own. He also wants to do right by Cleo, who he both admires and respects, but he feels he needs to keep his promise to return her safely to her grandfather even though he knows that it is the last thing Cleo wants.
Our heroine has led a very unconventional for the granddaughter of a duke. Born raised in the east, she is used to hard work, and she is also used to being unloved. When Quin arrives, she sees him as an inconvenience, someone she'll have to tend to until he's well enough to move on. She never expected him to be her salvation, her ticket to freedom. But that is what Quin becomes because his arrival means that she and her father will be moving from Egypt. Unfortunately, Quin doesn't deliver her freedom in exactly the way she expected. Cleo yearned for independence, and being molded into the granddaughter of a duke doesn't fit who she is at all.
I absolutely loved the conflict in this novel. I wanted to applaud Cleo for fighting as hard as she does throughout the whole novel, and I wanted to kiss Quin for realizing that Cleo was far more important than the perfectly planned life he had aspired to, and for making Cleo his in such a romantic (if scandalous) way--it gave me that lovely le sigh feeling. The lush setting, sharp writing and polished characters made this a read I will return to again and again.