- Title: The Tarnished Jewel of Jazaar (Harlequin Presents Extra)
- Classification: Adult Fiction
- Genre: Contemporary Romance
- Format: Paperback, 192 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin (August 7, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 0373528787
- ISBN-13: 978-0373528783
Notes: Received a copy of the book from the author.
Zoë Martin was desperate to get away from her uncle. She'd been raised in the US and when her parents died her uncle Tareef came and collected her and took her back to Jazaar with him. He'd promised to look after her, but instead had stolen her inheritance, abused her when she rebelled, and made her a servant in his household. Her only possible escape was to marry and attempt to escape on her honeymoon. She thought it was a good plan until she met her betrothed--Sheikh ibn Shihab Nadir, aka The Beast. A nickname he'd earned two years ago when he rejected his previous bride.
Sheikh Nadir had agreed to the marriage to Zoë for political reasons. Her family's tribe was a highly respected and influential one. The marriage was to ensure good relations between Nadir's family and the tribe. He had rejected a bride from the tribe two years ago and this was his way of making amends. His plan was to marry her, consummate the marriage, and then send her away in the Sultan's palace never to lay eyes on her again.
Falling in love was never part of either of their plans.
This was a fun book. Zoë was in an impossible situation doing what she can to get out of it. Before she'd come to live with her uncle she had dreams and aspirations of becoming a doctor like her parents. Now she's just looking for a way out. Her husband-to-be is thought to be a little too modern in his thinking and making her his bride was meant to be an insult. Nadir had entrusted the picking of a wife to the tribe and instead of picking a Jazaari bride suitable for a sheikh, they chose an outcast from the tribe--Zoë. Things could have gone very bad for Zoë and she could of found herself in an even worse situation than before, but thankfully Nadir wasn't just forward thinking when it came to business dealings.
What I liked about this book is that Ms. Carr did not sweep some of the issues of the Arab world under the rug for the sake of the romance, but brought them to light. Abuse of woman does happen, with women having little or no rights to prevent it. We've all seen the stories. Ms. Carr, however, delicately balances the romance with a dose of reality. While Nadir seemed a little too westernized and modern for his people, he was still a little bit backward in his way of thinking. Zoë and Nadir had to try to blend two distinctly different cultures and beliefs together to make their marriage work. I'm glad that in the end Zoë didn't have to sacrifice her dreams to be with her husband or choose between the two.
Overall, I gave this romance a 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. I liked both the main characters and how Nadir did his best to try to accommodate Zoë while dealing with a world (Jazaar) not yet ready to join the modern ways of thinking. I also liked how Nadir didn't leap to conclusions or act before he got all the facts. I loved the relationship the two shared and how he ended up respecting and seeking out her opinion on matters. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale this one gets a Steam rating-too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.