REVIEW: Hajar’s Hidden Legacy by Maisey YatesSunday, December 9, 2012 1:00
Either my reading tastes have changed or else Harlequin Presents’ have. Â I suspect it might be a little a both. Â Whatever it is, Iâ€™m quickly finding myself addicted to this line that is featuring strong, forthright heroines next to the brooding alpha heroes. Â No wonder itâ€™s Harlequin flagship line! Â As I wander through the landscape, I hit upon this book by Maisey Yates, in part because Iâ€™ve seen her name bantered around online, but also because it features one of my favorite fairy tales themes, Beauty and the Beast.
Katherine is a princess of a small, fictional Alpine country and was betrothed to the heir of Hajarâ€™s throne. Â Then the familyâ€™s motorcade is attacked by rebels. Â Malik, along with his father and mother die. Â The only surviving member of the family is younger brother Zahir, who is now the ruling Sheikh. Â Because of the ailing health of her father and her younger brother not being of age, Katherine is determined that a marriage between the two nations takes place. Â An alliance is beneficial for both, and it keeps a power-hungry male relative off her countryâ€™s throne.
Zahir survived the attack on his family, but it left him severely scarred. Â He has closed himself off from the outside world, rarely making appearances and ruling from behind his office desk. Â He was the classic â€śspare.â€ť Â His brother was groomed to rule. Â Zahir was groomed to be a playboy, although he did have a fianceeâ€™ who turned tail and ran once she got a good look at his injuries. Â Now on his doorstep is his brotherâ€™s fiancee, suggesting they honor the marriage agreement. Â Heâ€™s all set to turn her down, not quite prepared for the very good argument she puts forth. Â Poor Sheikh Zahir – this guy doesnâ€™t stand a chance.
The common theme in stories of this ilk is that Beauty â€śhealsâ€ť the Beast. Â And certainly, Katherine does that for Zahir. Â She helps him move on. Â She helps him deal with his trauma. Â She helps him stop hiding and look toward the future.
The flipside of this, and one that is sometimes ignored in romance, is that the Beast does just as much to heal Beauty. Â In Katherineâ€™s country, girl children of ruling monarchs have the sole mission of looking pretty, keeping their mouths shut, and making advantageous marriages. Â Katherine is more than that; sheâ€™s a good person, a hardworking person, considerate and kind. Â Itâ€™s just her father is a man from a different era who really only sees her as a pawn. Â Being with Zahir, seeing herself through his eyes, brings her full circle, away from a life in a country where nobody really notices her beyond what designer shoes she wears to some charity ball.
This is a quick, satisfying story that features a surly, wounded hero coupled with a take-no-prisoners, wonâ€™t-back-down heroine. Â I love that Katherine stands toe to toe with Zahir and doesnâ€™t run away from conflict. Â I also love, that while wounded, Zahir isnâ€™t completely unreasonable (his feelings for his ex-fiancee being a prime example). Â A must-read for fans of this trope, even if, like me, you arenâ€™t necessarily wild about royalty books. Â Iâ€™m definitely going to read more Yates in the future.
Princess Katharine has always been destined for a political marriage. Her heart heavy, she prepares to meet her future husband-the man whisperers in his royal kingdom call The Beast of Hajarâ€¦
â€¦and the Scarred Sheikhâ€¦
Concealing his disfigurement from public scrutiny, Sheikh Zahir rules his country from within the castle walls, allowing no one in. Until duty demands he carry on the Hajar family dynasty and allow his new bride to cross the threshold.
Zahir expects Katharine to flee at first sight. Yet her unflinching gaze fires Zahirâ€™s blood, and their attraction burns hotter than the scorching desert sandsâ€¦