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2.0 out of 5 starsHighly unlikely!
Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2013
I bought this book after reading the 3rd book in this series. That book is actually very good and I enjoyed it, so I foolishly ordered the first 2 thinking they would be just as good. They are not. This is the 2nd book in the series and it is completely inplausible. First of all, no one will believe that a Sheik in the 19th century would be this progressive regarding the role of women. Also, the Sheik/prince continually ventures outside of his palace all by himself. No guards, no servants. The thought that he would roam the desert by himself, rescuing maidens whenever they are in distress, is ridiculous. The ending, however, is the most unbelievable of them all. Some sort of supernatural transpiring takes place and it is simply laughable. The descriptive writing is actually not bad, but the plot is totally unrealistic. My advice is to skip the first 2 books and go straight to the 3rd. You won't be sorry.
I have an affinity for sultans and sheikhs and stories about the Ottoman Empire. I think this story was set in Egypt but it had all the ingredients that I like. I was surprised there was no harem and no jealous concubine, but the story was believable and enjoyable. Cassie travels into the desert to meet her prince after being jilted by a poet. Neither Cassie or the Prince want to Marry but the Prince is obligated to in order to produce an heir. His previous marriage produced an unruly daughter who needed some guidance that was provided by her new governess, Cassie. Cassie impresses her prince, but various problems occur, which seem to make a romance an impossible dream.
The transformation of Linah's (Jamil's daughter) feelings and reactions in the plot warmed my heart, yet Cassie's headstrong personality was too overbearing for me to really grow to like her. Her willfulness made me frustrated with her at many points in the novel. I really liked Jamil's progressiveness and desire to move his country forward socially, and found his character to be more likable than the heroine. The mysticism at the end felt out of place, and I wish that aspect was addressed more thoroughly in the novel because there was potential for that to be a far more interesting literary element in this plot. There was a missed opportunity there.
4.0 out of 5 starsThe Governess and the Sheikh Review
Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2011
Sheikh Jamil al-Nazarri, Prince of Daar-el-Abbah, can run a kingdom with great success, but cannot control his daughter at all. Having gone through dozens of traditional governesses in place of his daughter's deceased mother, Jamil wishes to take a different approach to taming his daughter. Though not the most traditional approach, Jamil is sure a stout, strict and very matronly English woman is just what his daughter needs. There is just one problem: Lady Cassandra is not matronly at all. She is voluptuous, intriguing, and not at all like any woman he has ever met before.
After being jilted weeks before her wedding, Lady Cassandra Armstrong is in Arabia visiting her sister who has married a sheikh. Cassie jumps at the chance to be a governess to an unruly child so she can prove to herself that she can do something successfully, even if it isn't marriage. Cassandra is determined to show Jamil that what is daughter needs is a dose of love and not discipline. As a measure of instilling this, she begins to encourage Jamil to visit his daughter more than on his weekly updates of her progress. As Cassandra pushes Jamil more and more to see his daughter, she finds that her determination for getting him to the schoolroom is more for her benefit than her pupil's.
The attraction is palpable for Jamil and Cassie, but a world of tradition and propriety stands between them. Jamil must choose between giving into his feelings and risk being tempted by the strong-hearted and willed Lady Cassandra or seek security of tradition in his impeding arranged marriage; Cassie must struggle with falling in love with someone she knows cannot love her back.
I would have to say that this was a very enjoyable read for me! It was somewhat reminiscent to The King and I, but with a happier ending and I liked that about it. Cassie as the heroine had a very clear sense of self. She made her choices and thought them through. She wasn't a character that neither seemed stupidly unaware of the consequences of her actions or unnecessarily brash about them. I loved how she stood up for herself and was not inclined to hope that Jamil would fall in love with her in time. The plot was also very realistic in how she was in Arabia (her father is a diplomat) so although it's a little cheesy that her sister is already married to a sheikh and she is about to meet a sheikh, it's not that ridiculous in the scheme of far-fetched romance story plots.
My favorite seen would have to be the bath house scene... it was... very steamy. Pun intended. This is the scene from the cover so I give the cover choice a thumbs up as well as the various romantic scenes throughout the novel.
The only thing that really bothered me about the novel was some of the typical pit-falls of a romance novel - the hasty ending that coincides with an almost catastrophe that shows the main characters' their true feelings for each other. There was an extremeness in Cassie's thick headedness that went along with this that I thought was not necessary. It's the Middle East. Riding off by yourself into the desert by yourself is not smart. Jamil tells her this several times and she almost dies the first time she does it. Doing it again with a child, no matter how high your emotions may be flying because you are in love and emotionally charged, is just stupid and irritated me that she cares so much for this child and yet she was not an adult in the situation. I know that this could happen in real life, but I just didn't feel like it was the best way to bring the story to its end. But, overall The Governess and the Sheikh was a solid novel and a good read!