REVIEW: To Touch a Sheikh by Olivia GatesThursday, August 11, 2011 1:00
LynneC’s review of To Touch A Sheikh (Pride of Zohayd, Book 3) by Olivia Gates
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Desire 02 Aug 11
I enjoyed this book. Perhaps not as much as the others, but it made an interesting read.
This is the third book in a series, but you don’t have to read the other two to make sense of this one. The hero is Amjad, the Prince of a middle eastern country, and the heroine is Maram, a princess who was brought up by her American mother for the first twelve years of her life, then her father, a king of a smaller middle eastern country.
The prologue shows how Amjad was being slowly poisoned by his wife, and when it was discovered, he was expected to forgive, but he chose not to. The story itself follows years later, after Amjad has closed his heart to love and affection. He has more reason than most Desire heroes to do so. Most former wives don’t use arsenic to make their point.
The first half of the story takes place when Amjad decides to use a sandstorm to kidnap Maram to regain his country’s treasures, which he believes are being held by Maram’s father. It’s a cabin romance. Amjad and Maram come to a new understanding of each other and eventually become lovers. It’s interesting to watch them give and take and start to build a new trust, which, of course, is destroyed once real life comes back to bite them in the butt.
The second half of the book is concerned with them trying to regain their trust and to get back to a position where they can move on together with their lives. Amjad makes a dramatic gesture at the end to win Maram back, one I think is a trifle overdone, and it doesn’t really work for me, but it didn’t stop me reading. The first half is a leisurely exploration of the dilemmas and the feelings of the main couple and is satisfyingly claustrophobic, but, in contrast, the second half crams far too much into a small space and suffered as a result.
The language is, as readers have come to expect from Gates, richer, with a wide vocabulary and some experimental forays into metaphor that don’t always come off, but it’s a great try. Gates’ problem is that her language can occasionally become so complex that it obscures the meaning of what she really wants to say, so sometimes it takes a few readings to get what she really means. However, the spark between the couple is enjoyable, especially in the first half of the book. Their sparring makes for some great reading. The sex is a little weirder, since Amjad seems to practice a form of Eastern tantric sex. I didn’t find a part where he actually comes, but he must do it, because of the consequences in the second half of the book. The idea isn’t something I’m altogether comfortable with, and I’m not sure I want to think about it anymore. I’m not sure how he gets to practice, since he hasn’t had sex since he discovered his wife was trying to poison him.
However, it is an interesting read and a fitting conclusion to the Pride of Zohayd series.
The Sheikh’s SurrenderNo one gets past Prince Amjad Aal Shalaan’s defenses. No one. But when Princess Maram shows up at Amjad’s gala in her father’s place, destroying Amjad’s plans to reclaim what was stolen from his family, Amjad sees red… and uses a freak sandstorm to make her his prisoner of passion.
Swept to safety by the man she’s always loved from afar, Maram knows she has one chance to make Amjad see her as a woman. His woman. But when the impossible prince and the unstoppable princess take shelter from the storm, neither is prepared for the aftermath of their desire…
Read an excerpt. (scroll down to book and click excerpt link)