This kind of novel is in my own language called "Kitchen maid's literature" and will always feature a powerful and handsome man and end in a happy ever after. Nothing wrong with that. Also when you are not a poor servant and have an education you can enjoy an escape to fairyland where all maidens are young and all men are handsome and nice and both are attracted to each other like magnets . Even husbands, brothers and fathers read these kind of penny novels in secret.
However although I realise they are modern fairytales I like a bit of accuracy. Here we have a British woman going to an Arabic country because she is hired by the local king to paint a mural in a hospital. When she meets the queen she asks if she has to dress according to Islamic tradition and the queen (who is a British woman as well) explains that it is a Christian country with only a few Muslims and Catherine is glad about that. WHAT? I have been in quite a few Arabic countries and Jordan, Syria, Iraq to name a few had a large Christian minority but an Arabic country that is Christian and has only a few Muslims? Not in this world. And it also had my hackles up that she is relieved. Of what? Not having to cover up in the heath or relieved there are hardly Muslims?
Then it is mentioned that Catherine's parents are British aristocrats. So nobility. But in the novel it is stated that they are royalty. As far as I know royalty are only the kings and queens and their heirs. I wondered how a British writer could mess that up. On the last page I saw it was written by an American woman. Please madam change those things. There is not a drop of Arab in this desert story so if you want to write about a dark handsome Christian prince who does gala-balls put the story in a made up Southern European country.
In the novel there are hints about Catherine's past but somehow that never gets really dealt with. On Netgalley it was qualified as an erotic tale. Well at least there was desert there. I mean there were two bed scenes in the whole book and they were not erotic at all.
I really say I had trouble finishing the novel while I see other people writing very enthusiastic reviews. Maybe with my background knowledge the charm of the story was spoiled and it sounded too alien too often.
3 stars out of 5
Published 17th of July 2018