Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: Forged in the Desert Heat by Maisey Yates

I used to be something of a book snob, the sort who would roll my eyes at the words "romance" or "Harlequin".  Now though, I will hurt someone if they dare to take away my Maisey Yates' Harlequin Presents.  In the past year, I've read five or six of them and have enjoyed them quite a bit.

She creates these likable, complex characters and interesting couples.  These books provide the perfect escape and have become my go-to when I need a book that I can dive into immediately.

What I especially like about these books is that unlike some “millionaire/billionaire” books, these aren’t stories of rich men seducing helpless, young poor girls who need someone to take care of them. Most of these women are doing just fine on their own, at least with regard to careers and finances.  Suffice it to say that I don’t feel as if I’m handing in my feminist card when I read these books.  In most cases, the women wield as much power as the men.  And emotionally, they seem to be equally damaged.

In Forged in the Desert Heat, Ana comes from a wealthy background.  She was educated at nice boarding schools, she’s now getting ready to marry a Sheik.  But during a pre-wedding trip, she’s abducted, and then rescued by another Sheik from a neighboring kingdom.  (I said these books were enjoyable, not that they were realistic; I don’t read for realism.)  Zafar takes her to stay in his palace until he can figure out how to get her back to her fianc√© without causing a war.  This is where the story took a very distinct Beauty and the Beast twist (oh, and I love Beauty and the Beast).  A palace that seems frozen in time, a man who has been alone for so long, he's forgotten how to behave in civilized company.  I liked it a lot.
As Ana waits to return home, she has plenty of time to rethink some decisions she'd made in her life - or rather the lack of decisions.  She's always done what she was told to do, what she thought would make her father happy, exactly what was expected of her.  She now realizes she's on the verge of marrying a man she thinks she loves because she's supposed to love him.  But after a kiss from Zafar, she realizes that the love she thought she felt was devoid of passion.  How can she go back to that life?  Another thing I like about the books I've read by Yates, is we see her characters fall for each other.  The attraction may be instant, but it takes a while before they develop an emotional connection, as it should be. 
I enjoyed reading about Ana taking control of her life, making decisions that were best for her and being willing to deal with the consequences, even if her choices weren't what were expected of her.  And, of course, this had all the steamy romance that can be expected from these books.  Overall, I really liked this book. 
I read this while traveling over the Thanksgiving break and it worked perfectly for keeping my mind off the dreariness of waiting in airports and riding in small planes and other "fun" holiday-ness.
I received a review copy via NetGalley. 

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