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REVIEW: Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel

Dear Ms. Jewel:

0425230996.01.LZZZZZZZWhen I met you recently, I had to sheepishly admit that I had not yet read any of your books. So I volunteered to review your new release Indiscreet, relishing the added bonus that it was a Regency set in Turkey. Despite all of the stereotypical sheikh novels and the often fetishized relationship genre Romance has with Middle Eastern settings, I have a very soft spot for these fictionalized locales, and Indiscreet did not disappoint in that respect. In fact, there were very few disappointments for me along the way, and while Indiscreet might be the first Carolyn Jewel book I read, it certainly won’t be the last.

When the Marquess of Foye was merely Lord Edward Marrack, he had the displeasure of overhearing a terribly indiscreet boast from his then-friend, the Earl of Crosshaven. It seemed that Miss Sabine Godard was, as Crosshaven put it, "’no better than she ought to be’" in submitting to Crosshaven’s seduction. And Lord Edwards knows that "’Tomorrow…Miss Godard will not find the world so pleasant a place. That is a fate you ought to have avoided for the girl,’" because "’the consequences of an indiscretion always fall hardest on the woman.’"   Edward, soon to be Foye, does not understand at the time why his friend would be so selfish and careless with Miss Godard’s reputation, but he does know that true or false, the charge will likely ruin the young woman, and for that he is disgusted and sorry.

So nearly two years later, when he runs across the lovely Miss Godard and her uncle (and guardian) Henry Godard in, of all places, Turkey, he is grateful to see that Sabine’s uncle did not turn her out on the street, even if they had to flee England in the wake of her ruined reputation. Sabine, who is helping her uncle with his book on the East, amuses herself by reading tea leaves for other English travelers, mostly men who are taken with the lovely young woman. The amusement hardly satisfies, however, the mind of a woman who is more intellectually capable as many men far above her station, although her gratitude for her uncle’s public loyalty makes her loathe to leave him. And she is not at all pleased to see Crosshaven’s good friend Foye among the coterie of English travelers. She has no idea that his sympathies lie with her and not Crosshaven, and is merely waiting for him to act as so many other men have around her – with the ultimate proposition for indiscretion.

Foye and Sabine are, at first, as mysterious to each other as the Eastern cultures are to so many of these Western travelers. Foye is, as Sabine notes, not a handsome man: "[h]is nose was hooked, and the remainder of his features were set irregularly in his face, as if someone had put the parts together and then given them a hard shake before everything had quite settled into place."   He appears aloof, but, Sabine realizes, instead he is just "reserved," because "[h]is consequence fit him like his clothes: exquisitely and without ostentation, but underneath there ran a river too deep to sound." Still, Sabine finds Foye arresting, even as she fears what he will say or attempt to do to her. While Foye is trying to adjust to a shift in his own expectations, from "a sweet young woman, weeping for her lost reputation" to a sensually-featured woman with "dark honey" eyes, a surfeit of personal dignity, and an unexpected measure of wit and insightful intelligence. Not a victim, by any measure, despite Crosshaven’s careless sacrifice of her reputation.

One of the things that is most amazing about Indiscreet is the way the unfamiliar setting of Turkey (which was and still is one of the most popular vacation spots for Europeans) sets off the personal dynamics between Sabine and Foye. On one level, any interest they have in each other – however reluctant, on both parts – is less forbidden. But on another level, Sabine’s reputation is even more fragile outside England, because her status and safety as a female is doubly dependent on male protection. And then there are the more mundane considerations, such as the fifteen-year age difference (Sabine is 23 and Foye is 38), Foye’s self-perception as a beastly man (he is 6’6" for one thing), who is beyond the desire of a beautiful young woman like Sabine, and Sabine’s loyalty to her uncle, a man who stood behind her even though he most certainly believed Crosshaven’s story. Henry Godard, in fact, would rather think of Sabine as having a man’s mind and disposition in an inconveniently female body, and he thinks nothing of taking her through politically unstable, geographically remote regions, oblivious to or unconcerned with the potentially unhealthy interest of Nazim Pasha, whom Henry Godard is intent on visiting.

Before they can leave, however, Sabine and Foye become acutely aware of their attraction to each other, buoyed by the unexpected pleasure of it and yet firmly convinced that it cannot end in marriage and happy domesticity:

He reached up and took her hand in his. She’d never put on her gloves, so her fingers were bare. Slowly, he brought her fingers to his mouth and kissed the back of her hand. His lips touched her bare skin. "Sabine," he whispered, "what am I to do with you?"

"What is it you want to do?"

He did not step away, and, God help her, she trembled with anticipation. He tipped his head to one side. "To make up my mind about you." The skin around his eyes crinkled when he smiled. "Am I too beastly for you, Sabine? Or is that something you can overlook?"

She was aware that the future of her relationship with him, whatever that was to be, hung in the balance now. Her whole life was about to change, and this time the choice was hers. Her chest felt tight. She could hardly breathe. "You and I will continue to disagree on that, I think.

So when the Godards leave for Northern Syria and the pashalik of Nazim Pasha, Foye tries to believe that Sabine will be safe in the company of one infirm old man and a pasha who is known for selling women or making them part of his seraglio, beyond the protection of the British consulate. And when he arrives at the pasha’s compound, he is informed by the pasha that Henry Godard has died and Sabine is grieving, inconsolable but safe. Which he does not believe for a minute. So one daring rescue and a bit of costuming later, Foye and Sabine escape the pashalik for a treacherous journey to the relative safety of the consulate, many anxious days and treacherous miles away.

At this point in the review I need to say that no summary I could offer of Indiscreet is likely to do the book justice, because so much of its depth, like Sabine and Foye’s relationship, is revealed in the experience. Foye is a man who knows he is not handsome, and who is almost freakishly tall for his time, but who has enough social position to secure a desirable wife one day. However, he has a sad history with the one woman he loved before Sabine, and so he is convinced that he will never be happy in love, and therefore convinced that no woman as lovely and intelligent as Sabine would ever be suitable for him. Sabine, while traditionally beautiful, must disguise her acute intelligence and broad education, and is forever hampered by the consequences of her tarnished reputation, whether she actually earned that reputation or not.

To complicate matters, just as the two seem to be working through these initial barriers to happiness, the nature of their relationship changes when Sabine goes undercover as a young male, native dragoman to the powerful Lord Foye. Now the woman who never noticed how much the world deferred to her sex must live the physical life of a man and a servant. This life is foreign to her, and as a result, she becomes estranged from herself in a way:

While she understood and wholeheartedly agreed with Foye’s decision to disguise her as a boy-’a brilliant ruse, she thought-’she was profoundly unsettled by everything to do with it. The experience made her a foreigner in her own body; riding astride, the way her clothes fit, and perhaps most of all, the way others reacted to her. . . .

As it was now, she was being shaped inside and out by the sort of person she was and by the expectations of those around her.

And she becomes aware of Foye in a new way, as well:

They were safe enough speaking English, so long as she was appropriately deferential to Foye. That wasn’t difficult. He was a nobleman after all, and just now he intimidated her. The gentleness of his manners from Büyükdere had disappeared somewhere between then and now. She wondered if he was aware that he behaved differently. He must be; he was too intelligent not to be. A line between them had been erased, and she wasn’t sure where, if anywhere, a new one might be drawn. She was a boy and not a boy. His servant and not his servant. Female and not female. And when she looked at him, her stomach leaped off the end of the world.

So many Romance novels treat the road trip as a whim, the costumed heroine as a farce, and the East as exotic backdrop, but Indiscreet challenges each of those stereotypes and brings each device back into fresh use. The road trip is fraught with dangers both physical and emotional, the costume functions to reveal the depths of both protagonists, and the Eastern setting a means to explore the nature of foreignness, customs, and social structures. I don’t think I can emphasize the extent to which I was completely caught up in reading Indiscreet, at least until the final handful of chapters, that is.

For at least two-thirds of the novel, the emotional tension is taughtly maintained, and it was a profound pleasure watching these two characters transform, inside and out, to themselves and each other. Like Sabine, I saw the sharp angles in Foye’s face as "beautiful" rather than "beastly," as the face of "[a] man who tried to see the world as it was rather than what it was said to be, and still retained his hope." Like Foye I was impressed with Sabine’s dignity and proud of her studious dedication to saving her own life. She is no silly ninny, no helpless naif, even if she is vulnerable in a number of ways.

However, because there is so much tension in the novel around securing Sabine and Foye’s safety from the pasha and other dangers, once safety is secured, the novel, like Sabine’s stomach, seems to "leap off the end of the world." The final chapters, in fact, started to read like a summary of a novel more than the novel itself, and while this is not the sort of book where we are in doubt up to the last page as to how things will turn out, there are a number of twists in those final chapters that beg for more opportunity for emotional catharsis than what is allowed in the somewhat abrupt resolutions. Had the pace of these chapters been slowed, Indiscreet would have easily been an A read for me. Even with the sometimes tiring repetition of Foye’s insistence that he was too beastly for Sabine to love, even with the sometimes awkward introductory paragraphs at the beginning of chapters (the book had a sense of scripted scene changing that was both interestingly effective and self-consciously artificial). There is just so much to admire about Indiscreet, from the restrained but lyrical prose to the depth of the protagonists’ characterizations, to the lovely surprises placed throughout the novel that challenged and shifted my expectations subtly but effectively.

For the reader who wants fresh settings, for the reader who likes traditional Regencies, for the reader who likes character-driven stories, and for the reader who likes adventure and a larger scope in Romance, Indiscreet is a wonderfully satisfying read. B+

~ Janet

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free. The Amazon Affiliate link earns us a 6-7% affiliate fee if you purchase a book through the link (or anything for that matter) and the Sony link is in conjunction with the sponsorship deal we made for the year of 2009. We do not earn an affiliate fee from Sony through the book link.

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

35 Comments

  1. Chrissy
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 15:28:34

    I avoid these books because I fell in love with a Kurdish man, and am afraid I will find them as offensive as badly done “half breed” westerns. My father is a person, not a dog, so having one side of his family Indian doesn’t make me inclined to think of him as an AustrIrishOkee any more than it makes me think of him as a Maltipoo or a Labradoodle.

    I just can’t stand cultural appropriation. So I will have to pass. Middle Eastern/Persian/Arabic culture has become taboo, so it will be popular for exploitation.

    It’s not fair of me to judge before reading, but reading would require a purchase I might regret.

    *shrug*

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  2. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 15:31:53

    I love Carolyn’s books (disclosure: she’s a friend) and I’ve been very interested in Turkish/Ottoman history over the years (best friend is Turkish and Istanbul is one of my favorite cities on the planet). This book is SOOOO going to the top of my TBR cue.

    Thanks for the review!

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  3. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 15:48:53

    I just can't stand cultural appropriation. So I will have to pass.

    Technically, almost the entire genre of historical romance is based on “cultural appropriation”, since the vast majority of the authors are American. Personally, I'm half Native American and half European (mostly Italian), and I write books set in Georgian England. I'm totally guilty of “appropriating” a culture and history that is not my own (or only a teeny-tiny bit my own; there's some Scottish blood in there somewhere). I guess I should be writing “Indian Romances” if we're all going to be limited to writing only what is culturally appropriate to our own ethnicity.

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  4. Chrissy
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 16:13:21

    I didn’t say anyone had to write anything, Kalen.

    And I also totally copped to being unfair.

    But I have been seriously disgusted too many times to take the risk… which is my perogative, right?

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  5. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 16:19:12

    But I have been seriously disgusted too many times to take the risk… which is my perogative, right?

    Sure is.

    I’m just pointing out that pretty much ALL historical romance is guilty of the “crime” you’re attributing to this book.

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  6. Robin
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 16:35:21

    @Chrissy: I am certainly not going to undertake any attempt to convince you to buy this book, but I will say that I am sensitive to issues of colonialism, imperialism, and cultural appropriation. Not only have I traveled in the Middle East and understand the gap between its fictional depictions and realities, but my academic specialization is in postcolonialism. Since I most often work with Native American literatures and historical issues, it is tough for me to read NA Romance novels, although I have fond a few I really love.

    While Jewel does not undertake an extensive examination of cultural differences in this book, neither does she demonize/fetishize/exoticize or otherwise “other” her Turkish/Syrian characters; in fact, I found her portrayals much less stereotypical than those of Loretta Chase, who is herself Armenian.

    While none of this guarantees that you would enjoy the book or find it inoffensive, I just wanted to say that as someone who is currently doing academic work on the “erotic exotic” in Romance, as I call it, I’m not a noob when it comes to these issues and their problematic treatment in genre Romance.

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  7. Chrissy
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 16:45:38

    Kalen… I never used the word “crime,” and I completely disagree.

    There is a HUGE difference between writing in a cultural setting not one’s own and exploiting that culture.

    I know the difference. I am honest about not reading certain titles simply because I wish to avoid them.

    Painting them with one brush and being in denial about it would be criminal. What I have said is not.

    BTW, Robin, I absolutely agree with a great deal of what youb said … and I don’t read Loretta Chase, either. LOL I picked her up once and was dumbfounded by the popularity, since I found some big mistakes… but it was long ago and I have not picked her up since. She could now be creating masterpieces for all I know.

    I actually think it’s better to avoid stuff that often disappoints and remain clueless. Once in a while somebody I trust points me at an exception. But the number of people who gushed over Cassie Edwards is just one example of why I avoid certain stuff like the plague.

    It’s a personal preference, that’s all. I thought I’d mention it ONLY because trend seemed to be part of the discussion.

    Cool?

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  8. Meljean
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 16:48:23

    I looked for this today, and couldn’t find it, so now I am waiting for my pre-ordered copy to come in. I really loved SCANDAL, and that sent me searching out her historical backlist (I’d already read and really enjoyed her paranormals, but her historicals click for me on a whole different level), and she’s become an auto-buy for me.

    And now I’m just looking forward to it even more. Great review, and the comments covered my one concern: the possible fetishism and cultural issues.

    Er, should I disclaim? I twitter with Carolyn, exchange occasional e-mails, and once gave a quote for one of Carolyn’s books because her hero was totally badass (but the request came through my agent). Also, at RWA, we discussed The Dark Knight movie at the Berkley party.

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  9. Janine
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 17:48:22

    Great review. Jennie and I have a conversational review of this book in the works which will probably run later in the month, after people have had a chance to read the book, so there will be another opportunity for discussion. For that reason, I probably should refrain from giving detailed opinions of the book, so I’ll just say I enjoyed it — and that Robin, you have to read Scandal.

    And to disclaim, yes, I got to read the free ARCs of Indiscreet and Scandal which Dear Author was sent, as well. I also met Ms. Jewel briefly at RWA and told her I enjoyed Scandal.

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  10. vanessa jaye
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 19:58:32

    Carolyn’s Historicals are all keepers for me and it looks like this one will be joining the rest as soon as i get my hands on it. Great review!

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  11. Robin
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 20:02:57

    @Chrissy:

    It's a personal preference, that's all. I thought I'd mention it ONLY because trend seemed to be part of the discussion.

    Cool?

    Of course. But since others who haven’t read the book will be reading this convo, I wanted to emphasize that I did not make my comments about the book casually or without understanding of the fetishization issues.

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  12. Robin
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 20:10:55

    @Meljean: I actually think it’s one of the few books I’ve read where there is not a lot of overt attention drawn to the Turkish characters as separate and/or different. While that is reflective of its own type of superficiality, I found it much much preferable to the stereotypical alternative.

    In fact, it was quite refreshing, really, to read about characters from different cultures (and by that I mean English and Turkish) who had different types of names identifying them as distinct, but who did not have stereotypical marks of cultural difference that elevated one type over another, whether that be through pidgin English or comic relief (one of Chase’s specialities, IMO), for example.

    Even the pasha, who is known as friendly to enslaving and selling women, is not inherently more horrible than a man like Crosshaven, who is quite willing to victimize women himself.

    @Janine: I look forward to your conversational review, Janine!

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  13. SonomaLass
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 21:39:57

    I just finished Indiscreet last night; I forced myself to stop halfway and read it in two sittings. I loved the way dressing as a boy caused Sabine to reflect on gender! Female to male cross-dressing is my specialty in performance studies, so that device in romance novels often doesn’t work for me. Here it did — as I said on Twitter earlier today, I was reminded of Pam Rosenthal’s work, which is pretty high praise.

    I’m a sucker for intelligent character with believable self-esteem issues, and you definitely have those here. I liked them both, which is a big plus — I often don’t care for romances where the hero is a jerk to the heroine early in the story. And I really enjoyed the setting — a nice change from London or an English country estate.

    Disclaimer: I do consider Carolyn a friend; we realized that we live not too far from each other after I read and LOVED Scandal. But I didn’t get the book for free!

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  14. Moth
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 21:56:17

    See, I swore off Jewell after I read Scandal and there was that horrible, tragic turnaround halfway through the book, but now you’ve made this one sound so interesting I wanna read it!

    I know you said there were some surprises and bombshells, but can I ask, (anyone who’s read both) are any of these reveals on a level or as dark as the one she delivered halfway through Scandal?

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  15. Sandy Williams
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 21:57:44

    Oh, glad you posted this review. I loved Jewel’s previous book but forgot this was coming out this month. I’ll be sure to pick it up on my next trip to the bookstore.

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  16. Evangeline
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 22:07:02

    I wasn’t too keen on Scandal, but something about this book has peaked my interest. I might not be able to wait for the digital release, lol.

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  17. Janine
    Oct 06, 2009 @ 22:57:58

    @Moth:

    There is something sad that happens, but it didn’t strike me as being as tragic or dark as what happened in Scandal.

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  18. Ros
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 03:12:18

    You know, until I read this review I didn’t think I had any particular immediate turn-offs for my romance heroes. But I won’t be reading this book. Why? Because to me, 6’6″ is just Not Sexy At All. I have friends who are 6’6″ and 6’7″ and 6’10″ and while they are great friends, there is nothing romantic to me about a man I literally have to crick my neck to look into his eyes (I am a very ordinary 5’4″). And seriously, for any kissing to go on for more than a moment, you really have to be sitting down, otherwise you seriously risk what my doctor friends call ‘snoggers jaw’. I’m sure if you’re a tall woman, these things pose no problem. But for an historical romance, where the heroine would be freakishly tall at about 5’8″, it just doesn’t work at all, I’m afraid.

    Is there a particular reason why authors feel the need to give us feet and inches? Can’t they just describe their heroes as tall/broad/huge etc and let us fill in the gaps with our own ideals of such men?

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  19. Dana
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 08:50:06

    Could someone tell me if Indiscreet is part of a series. I’ve looked through Carolyn Jewel’s website and there’s no mention of a series, but I also know her paranormals are linked and that info isn’t on her website either. I hate reading series out of order, so any info would be helpful.

    I was going to give this a pass, but the review convinced me to give it a try. I don’t read a lot of romances with heros from the Middle East, because they do tend to be have extreme stereotypes, but this looks interesting. Plus I have a weakness for the whole ‘girls disguised as boys’ trope.

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  20. Dear Author Recommend Reads for October 2009 | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 10:01:36

    [...] by Carolyn Jewel recommended by Janet, Jennie, Janine, and Jane (yep, we loved this [...]

  21. Robin
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 10:15:09

    @Dana: As far as I know, this is not part of a series — or at least it’s not *in the midst of* a series.

    @Ros: Janine and Jennie may have more to say on this in their review (or anyone else who’s read the book, of course), but his height was a very definite part of his characterization as a man who did not, in almost any way, fit the ideal of beauty we normally see in English aristocrats. His nose is hooked, his cheeks sharp, his hair very curly, and his height makes it difficult to miss the rest.

    Now you may not like this pairing at all, because IIRC the heroine is 5’3″, but in my contemporary mind, a hero who is 6’2″ or 6’3″, for example, is just not going to have the same effect as one 6’6″, regardless of how much shorter people of the Regency era might have been on average. So for me it worked, because it really did set him apart in my mind and because it communicated to me both an authority and an imposing facade, both of which were important aspects of his conscious characterization.

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  22. Dana
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 10:26:37

    @Robin: Thank you!

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  23. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 10:45:18

    regardless of how much shorter people of the Regency era might have been on average

    From what I've been able to determine, aristocrats would have been/were of roughly the same average heights as modern American/British Caucasians. You can read about my research and find links to the studies on my blog post about the topic.

    The main gist of the post is that the only study to take class into account (a study of height in 18th century Germany) found a 6” average difference between the poor and the middle class and then another 3” on top of that for the upper class. So, if you take this into account, the “average” height for male members of the English ton turns out to be around 5'9” (which just happens to be the average height of British Caucasian men today).

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  24. kc
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 11:46:27

    Excellent review.
    I am a big fan of Carolyn Jewel. I have enjoyed all three of her historicals and I think her style is a cut above the average. That said, this book was more of a challenge. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it while reading it. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about it and I’ve finished it. I am normally a really speedy reader and I found myself slowing down while reading this one, almost as if I was looking for something additional in the text. I did not have the emotional reaction I had to Lord Ruin or The Spare or, to a lesser extent, Scandal. I liked the lead characters. I thought they both seemed like interesting, decent people who had a depth not always found in romances. I didn’t feel a strong chemistry between them though. Their connection seemed more intellectual than emotional to me. I think that this element is what kept me from loving the book. I admit I am not a huge fan of the Turkish setting, but I didn’t find this one made much difference. I thought Jewel approached the setting as more landscape than lifestyle and that worked just fine. She seemed to use the setting to let her main characters ponder English society and their place in it more than as any sort of examination of Turkish culture.
    So what kept me from fully connecting with this book? There was something about the writing that kept the characters at a distance and I’m going to have to continue to give it some thought before I can put my finger on what it was exactly. I look forward to reading what others think about Indiscreet and I also look forward to continuing to read Ms. Jewel for a very long time. She is a talented writer.

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  25. Susan/DC
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 12:46:08

    The description of the journey with Sabine dressed as a boy reminded me very much of the first half of Laura Kinsale’s The Dream Hunter. I loved that part of the book, when Zenia and Arden travel through the desert. A major difference is that Zenia has spent much of her life as a Bedouin, dressed as a boy and speaking the language like a native. She is aware of the duality of gender and culture, but for very different reasons than Sabine. As for Arden, he shares some of Foye’s bred-in-the-bone aristocratic nature but in other ways appears to be very different. It might be interesting to do a compare and contrast for both books.

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  26. Janine
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 13:11:07

    @Susan/DC:

    Interesting you should mention The Dream Hunter. Jennie and I both briefly mention that we were reminded of it as well in our upcoming conversational review, and Jennie does compare the books a bit there.

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  27. Ros
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 13:44:16

    …his height was a very definite part of his characterization as a man who did not, in almost any way, fit the ideal of beauty we normally see in English aristocrats. His nose is hooked, his cheeks sharp, his hair very curly, and his height makes it difficult to miss the rest.

    Now you may not like this pairing at all, because IIRC the heroine is 5′3″, but in my contemporary mind, a hero who is 6′2″ or 6′3″, for example, is just not going to have the same effect as one 6′6″,

    Interesting. I think that in the early nineteenth century, sharp cheeks and curly hair were part of the Byronic ideal. Also hooked noses, following the popularity of the Duke of Wellington. Also, I definitely can’t see the appeal in a pairing between a 5’3″ woman and a 6’6″ man. My neck is hurting just trying to picture it. And finally, my experience of men of that height is that they are are typically very slender, lanky, and gentle. Possibly I have met a skewed sample, but nevertheless, they are the sample I have met and thus they form my opinions. I would find a man of 6’3″ with wide shoulders and a broad chest to be much more physically imposing than one with a couple of extra inches of height.

    Which all goes to show how important readers’ preconceptions are, and thus I return to my original point – why must actual figures be given? Let him be described as ‘a man of exceptional height’ or ‘like a tree’ or something else which gives the reader more room to fill in the gaps in the way they like best.

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  28. Ros
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 13:46:18

    Also, there is no way the man on the cover is fifteen inches taller than the woman. No way.

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  29. SonomaLass
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 14:11:38

    I agree that the cover doesn’t convey the difference in size between the two characters, but it is important in a lot of ways in the book. I think it’s significant that he is clearly taller than anyone Sabine has ever met (three inches taller than the Black Prince — loved that reference!), and he considers himself exactly as you seem to be reacting, Ros — too big for a woman to find attractive. Not just “tall” or “imposing,” but HUGE and perhaps freakish. When you add the irregularity of his facial features and the previous relationship that broke his heart, it is very believable that he does not expect Sabine to love him. This goes beyond the standard romance tropes of “she’s so pretty/I’m not worthy” and “one woman broke my heart so I’ll never love again,” and his unique physique is part of what made it work for me. Sabine definitely falls for the inside of the package first, and I know some readers like that a lot more than others.

    In a way, it reminded me of heroes like Mary Balogh’s Sydnam Butler in Simply Love or Elizabeth Hoyt’s Sir Alistair Munroe in To Beguile a Beast who are actually disfigured by injuries. Foye’s not nearly that bad, but there’s a definite difference when one of the main characters isn’t conventionally attractive.

    The Dream Hunter is one I’ve never read, although I love Kinsale. Sounds like I need to track down a copy!

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  30. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 15:24:02

    In a way, it reminded me of heroes like Mary Balogh's Sydnam Butler in Simply Love or Elizabeth Hoyt's Sir Alistair Munroe in To Beguile a Beast who are actually disfigured by injuries. Foye's not nearly that bad, but there's a definite difference when one of the main characters isn't conventionally attractive.

    I was thinking it sounds similar to Dain from Lord of Scoundrels.

    I once had a very petite girlfriend (5'1”) who only seemed to date REALLY tall men (6'3”+). She said she was just trying to even out the gene pool, LOL! Irked me to no end as I'm nearly 6' myself and men tall enough to make me feel girly are few and far between (and they almost always seem to date midgets!).

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  31. Janine
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 15:29:21

    The Dream Hunter is one I've never read, although I love Kinsale. Sounds like I need to track down a copy!

    Oooh, you are in for a treat, SonomaLass.

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  32. SonomaLass
    Oct 09, 2009 @ 22:31:49

    I found a used copy of The Dream Hunter on line and have ordered it. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

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  33. Janine
    Oct 10, 2009 @ 08:20:07

    I hope you enjoy it, SonomaLass.

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  34. Polly
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 14:19:43

    I really love Jewel’s historicals, but there’s often some element of them that I don’t love, or seems missing (in Lord Ruin, for example, I could have done without the weird rapist/murder side plot). I’m not usually a fan of exotic locales, even when they’re handled sensitively, as Jewel did here. Despite my expectations, I really enjoyed the main story arc of Indiscreet. What I had a problem with, though, was that there wasn’t nearly enough of what happened after they got back to England. Even the title itself is a reference to our heroine’s social ruin because of comments someone else made, but there’s not much discussion of the long-term consequences. Yeah, there’s the emotional issues, which are explored and dealt with, but what about the social consequences? She won’t stop being a scandal just because she’s married. I would have loved to see how their pasts come to bear on their “normal” married life. And really, two mistaken deaths!?

    And yet, I love Jewel’s historicals, and will read all that she writes. Her writing is lyrical without being flashy, and everything feels emotionally and psychologically right.

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  35. Гарри
    Jan 03, 2010 @ 07:24:04

    А мне вот интересно, а сам автор читает комментарии к этому сообщению. Или мы тут сами для себя пишем? :)

    ReplyReply

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