Thursday, December 5, 2013

THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane & E. M. Hull

Publisher:  Vane Publishing, LLC
Date published:  August 28, 2013
ISBN:  13:978-1492169956
Historical Romance
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher

Rating:  5

The year is 1920.  Diana Mayo is an English heiress, yet is under the thumbnail of her half-brother, Aubrey, who is a selfish, self-centered lout who is bored by women and seeks an American wife.  Motherless Diana has been treated as a boy all her life and was to be her brother’s companion.  She learned to ride, shoot, and fish like a man and, therefore, was raised with a cold nature and no love for any man.  She is very strong-willed and independent and rebuffs all the men seeking her hand, content with her lifestyle and being able to afford to do whatever she fancies. 

Diana soon fancies taking a tour through the Sahara desert, despite one suitor’s attempt to stop her, sharing with her the dangers of such a venture.  Ignoring his advice, she goes ahead with her plans, only to find herself suddenly kidnapped and held captive by a gorgeous, powerful desert sheik, Ahmed Ben Hassan.  But little does Diana know that her half-brother arranged the kidnapping and wants her killed.

Hassan intends to have Diana at all costs, no matter what she wants.  All she can think of is escaping the only man who has ever stirred her heart, mind, and body in ways she has never experienced before.  When she finally tests her boundaries, only then does she become aware of her true feelings for her captor and reconsider what it is she really wants out of life.  And only then does she realize the lengths Ahmed will go to to protect what is his.

THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane is a wonderful, skillfully-woven, exotic tale of adventure and romance that will keep the reader on the edge of her seat.  Vane is a strong, talented writer who has done a fabulous job of retelling the original story, THE SHEIK, first created by Edith Maude Hull.

The passionate love story between Diana Mayo and Ahmed Ben Hassan was later brought to life in the silent film, THE SHEIK, which featured Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayres.  Since I have a copy of this film, I was intrigued at thought of Vane’s taking the initiative to retell the story.  I was not disappointed.  Vane has done an incredible job of rewriting THE SHEIK, and I loved every minute of it.  Hassan and Mayo are both strong, independent characters, and it is a joy to experience their conflicts and later the depth of emotion between them.

Vane also does the necessary job of spicing up this story, in her own way, which adds so much more depth to THE SHEIK RETOLD than one can experience in the film.  I have not had the pleasure of reading Hull’s original text, but I may see if I can get a copy.

Vane has made THE SHEIK RETOLD an interesting, beautiful tale of romance that any hopeless romantic will love to devour.  Or anyone else who is interested in well-written desert tales.  Either way, I would love to read this story again, just because I have always enjoyed the original.  This retelling has so much more to offer the reader than one would see in the original film.  Although, since I haven’t read the original Hull version, I have nothing else with which to compare it.

The minor characters add a great deal to THE SHEIK RETOLD as well.  Gaston, Diana’s loyal servant and faithful protector, Hassan’s enemy, Ibraheim Omair, and his close friend, a Frenchman named Vicomte Saint Hubert, help bring this story to life, and Vane has accomplished this well, in my opinion.

Vane does a good job in showing Hassan’s true character, both in and out of the love nest.  He is a strong, hunky, alpha male that any woman would swoon over.  And Diana is the sort of woman that many aspire to be:  strong, independent, and in control of their lives.  Yet she is also what God made women to be:  beautiful, talented, intelligent.  And able to love with her entire being the man that is able to capture her heart.

THE SHEIK RETOLD is a fast-paced, well-plotted romance that will thrill the reader and leave them wanting more.  I absolutely loved it.  The fact that I’m a sucker for romance tales about desert sheiks has nothing to do with it.  THE SHEIK RETOLD stands alone as a skillful tale of intrigue, conflict, adventure, and romance that I would recommend to anyone who wants to be whisked away to an exotic location, just for a spell, to experience a life some may only dream about.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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