Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel
Sabine Godard has lived with her scholarly uncle, Henry, for years before they are forced to leave England when vicious rumors surface that she had slept with the Earl of Crosshaven. It turns out these rumors were merely an attempt to distract the Edward, the Marquess of Foye, from the fact that Crosshaven was secretly courting Edward's fiance Rosaline. When his wedding is called off, because of Rosaline running away with Crosshaven. Edward decides to travel far away and ends up in modern day Turkey/ Syria area and finds that Sabine and her uncle are also traveling in the area working on Henry's book. Despite the fact that Sabine is not stereotypically pretty Foye knows that there is something special about her; she is one of those mystical women that men are just "drawn" too. She is immensely intelligent, she is incredibly well read, she speaks many languages, and despite her small statue she is quite curvy. Foye is over a foot taller than Sabine, and although he is in very good shape his face is certainly not pretty and there is also a fifteen year age difference between the two.
Foye's blue eyes speak to Sabine and being with him makes her feel safe and cherished while Foye finds Sabine to be the most fascinating woman he has ever met. The two spend quite a bit of time together, but it is not long before Henry wants to move on and Sabine has to go with him. Foye makes it only a couple weeks before going after her and when he arrives at the Nazim Pasha's palace he discovers that Henry has died and that the Pasha is holding Sabine prisoner. He demands a ransom of Foye or else he will add Sabine to his harem or send him to the Sultan. Under cover of darkness Foye manages to disguise Sabine as a young male servant and Sabine travels with Foye as his dragomann as Foye travels to the English consulate. It is in these circumstances, as Foye and Sabine are stressed over being found and exhausted from the long, hot, and very dangerous journey that Sabine realizes how strong and reliable Foye is and both discover that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. But the Nazim Pasha has been following for quite some time, trying to discover Sabine's whereabouts and they must make it to the capital before he does and marry, or else Sabine could be at the mercy of the Pasha's whims.
I am always skeptical of books where the characters are "drawn" to each other and this book was quite a culprit here. Apparently all men wanted to be with Sabine because she had some indefinable quality that men can sense. As the book went on Foye did learn all of the amazing qualities that did make him fall in love with her, such as her intelligence, her loyalty to her uncle, her strength during extremely stressful situations, and the way she makes him feel like he is as beautiful as she is. I liked that the heroine was so intelligent, but it was a little too amazing that she was a fabulous artist, she spoke at least five different languages, and was just so attractive to men. Foye was just as unreadable as Sabine in the beginning with Sabine feeling this immense connection to him even though it is not until later that she learns of his commanding presence, his dedication to his loved ones, and that he makes her feel cherished. Jewel dealt with the age difference between the two very skillfully and she writes some very impressive sex scenes. They were very steamy, if not quite plentiful, but the attractin Sabine and Foye feel for each other is felt throughout the book.
I did spend quite a bit of the novel not quite so impressed with the location of this novel and there was quite a bit of talk about the different rulers and sub-rulers throughout the area. It was not hard to guess that a book that took place in Asia Minor would contain some sub-plot involving a man in authority wanting to add our heroine to his harem. Despite the fact that I knew it was coming I was very intrigued by the way Jewel pulled it off and I liked that the book did not contain vast descriptions of said harem. It was very interested, provided quite a bit of titillation, and served the story very well. Jewel also starts off certain chapters of her books with a little "introduction" that states the date, the location, the characters, and some brief information about what is going on. I did not find them particularly necessary, unless a large amount of time had gone by, and the information would be learned by reading the chapter anyway, but I did not mind them and they were certainly something new and unexpected. The book was rather slow paced with lots of descriptions that I felt went on a tad too long and not enough dialogue and there were very few parts that I found amusing (as in funny).
Rating: The book was not precisely fun but I really did find myself enjoying this book immensely. I definitely had some problems with it, but despite these I would recommend this book.