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FREE PDF õ The Widow and the Sheikh õ Rescued By The Sheikh Abandoned In The Desert, Julia Trevelyan Finds Herself At The Mercy Of Azhar, An Imposing Yet Impossibly Handsome Arabian Merchant Determined Not To Be Intimidated By Her Rescuer Or Their Sizzling Attraction She Asks For His Help But Prince Azhar Is In Fact The Rightful Heir To The Qaryma Throne, Returned From Exile To Take Back His Inheritance He Knows A Dalliance With The Enticing English Adventuress Is Out Of The Question, Yet He Can T Deny The Temptation To Claim Both His Throne And Julia A passionate encounter in a desert kingdom changes the course of a young girls life in this newest novel by veteran novelist Marguerite Kaye Filled with adventure and romance it is sure to delight her many fans My full review can be seen at Perhaps I was expecting too much, but this was like any other Sheikh romance I ve ever read So, when I got to the 27% mark and read this The whole situation read like a fairy tale, the handsome Prince returning after ten years in the wilderness to oust his evil brother for the exactly summed up how I felt about the story Predictable, unrealistic and clich d.Or maybe it s just me, since everyone else seems to have loved this Or maybe I just don t go for the whole Sheikh thing.Steam 3 3.5 ARC courtesy of Harlequin via NetGalley 4.5 stars, rounded upAnyone who regularly peruses the romance sections of bookshops or the romance listings atwill know that sheikhs are popular romantic heroes in many contemporary love stories But there aren t all that many to be found in historical romances, so I was intrigued when I saw that one of my favourite authors was writing a series set in the early nineteenth century in which the heroes were to be sheikhs Marguerite Kaye has already written a couple of books which feature such characters Innocent in the Sheikh s Harem and The Governess and the Sheikh but now comes her Hot Arabian Nights series, the first of which, The Widow and the Sheikh tells the story of a young Englishwoman and a desert prince, who find themselves trapped by circumstances and faced with difficult choices.Julia Trevelyan awakens alone in her tent in the desert, drugged, robbed and abandoned by the guides she had hired for her journey The widow of an eminent botanist, she is bound by her deathbed promise to her late husband to complete his final book and then see it published But all her samples have been stolen along with her money and possessions and she is going to have to find a way to regroup so that she can begin her work again in order to complete the task Fortunately, a fellow traveller who introduces himself as Azhar finds her and offers his help, explaining that he is a businessman and trader on his way to the kingdom of Qaryma He offers to escort her to the capital where, he says, she will find everything she needs.Julia gratefully accepts his proposal, but getsthan she had bargained for when, upon arrival at the Al Qaryma, Azhar reveals that he is in fact the Crown Prince, returning there for the first time in ten years What he doesn t immediately disclose is that his real purpose in returning is to assess the state of the kingdom and after a month, abdicate in favour of his brother, who has been ruling as regent since the death of their father.Azhar is a deeply honourable man, but does not wish to be trapped by the demands of his position He and his father never really saw eye to eye which, a decade earlier, led to Azhar s leaving Qaryma determined never to return He has made his own way in the world, growing a successful business empire that he enjoys running and is eager to get back to To start with, all his focus is so strongly bent upon handing the kingdom over to his brother that he fails or refuses to acknowledge that all is not as it should be But he cannot remain blind for long, and, realising that an outsider can offer a unique perspective, asks Julia to remain for one month, during which he will help her to catalogue the various and rare plants of his kingdom in return for her promising to tell him the truth about the things she sees around her in his kingdom and at the court And, of course, this extended period of time together will also allow them to further explore their strong mutual attraction Both Julia and Azhar are well drawn and engaging characters, but their determination to do the right thing means that making a life together looks to be an impossibility Having experienced marriage to a man who, though not physically cruel, did not value her or see her as a person in her own right, Julia is now intent on retaining her independence To this end, she decides to allow herself a month out of time a month in which to explore her sexuality and desires with her attractive, fascinating rescuer but after that, she will return to England and make a new life for herself there.The romance between these two people from different worlds is beautifully written and extremely well developed Their relationship is mutually beneficial on many levels, and I liked that Azhar trusted Julia enough to be able to share his concerns with her She is able to provide valuable insight, while he shows her that her husband s lack of response to her was farof a reflection of the man s own insecurities and fears than any fault of Julia s The attraction between the couple is so strong it leaps off the page, and they are not shy of acting upon it when the time is right Ms Kaye is one of those authors who can write an intensely sensual love scene in just a few paragraphs, a talent she employs to great effect here the scene in which the couple finally make love is one of the most deliciously romantic and sexy I ve read in quite some time.It s evident that Ms Kaye knows her stuff and that her research is extensive The idea of a western woman and a sheikh as a couple might seem outlandish, but truth really is stranger than fiction as the author reminds readers in her note at the end of the book, recalling the life of Lady Jane Digby who was married to a sheikh And this is one of the many things I always enjoy about her books not only do I get to read a superbly developed romance with strong, well drawn characters who pull me into the story, but she knows her history, too Added to that, her descriptions of the desert landscapes, the exotic flora and opulence palace and grounds are so evocative as to put the reader right there among the shifting sands or the scented gardens.If I have a complaint, it s one that is engendered by the fact that the author has done such a great job in setting up her story Azhar s dilemma being torn between his desire to live his own life and his innate sense of duty is so vividly written and so incredibly well explored, that the resolution, when it comes, seems somewhat anti climactic That s not to say that it s implausible because it most definitely isn t and of course, it s wonderfully romantic It just feels a little too easy given what has gone before But it works and I liked that Ms Kaye has left readers with the sense that while love has triumphed, both characters are well aware that the path they have chosen will not be an easy one.Even allowing for that minor reservation, The Widow and the Sheikh is such a strongly written, beautifully romantic story that I m rating it highly It s one of the most moving books I ve read recently, and one I have no hesitation in recommending Ms Kaye wrote a fascinating blog post for All About Romance this week if you pop over quickly, the giveaway for the book might still be open I liked this book quite a lot I didn t really know what to expect going in the story of an Englishwoman and an Arab sheik sounded like such a cliched romance novel storyline I d never read a category romance before, either, and maybe had some snobbish presumptions about them This was a really enjoyable and nicely written story, though.The heroine, Julia Trevelyan, is a widow who is in the desert to keep a deathbed promise made to her botanist husband, that she would finish his book and ensure his scholarly reputation She d been in her husband s shadow all through their marriage, and all she wants now is to keep her promise so she can finally be free and independent.The hero, Azhar, is the crown prince of an Arab kingdom, on his way home after a decade s exile His father disowned him when he refused to be hemmed in by the borders of his homeland and set out to see the outside world Now that his father is dead, he has returned to turn the crown over to his younger brother, so that he can finally wash his hands of his unwanted responsibilities and return to his life as a world traveling trader and businessman.Azhar finds Julia after she s been drugged and robbed by her local guides, and promises to help her finish her mission He feels a kinship with her because she too is looking to gain her freedom, and he s fascinated by her willingness to give him her honest opinions and treat him like an equal.Their friendship grows to love once they return to his kingdom, as they spend time together and he begins to uncover what has happened there in his absence Before long he realizes that letting go of his birthright isn t going to be the simple thing he thought it was, since his younger brother is unethical and not fit to reign Not only will Azhar have to sacrifice his own freedom in order to take the crown, he ll also be forced to give up the relationship he s developed with Julia, since she will never be accepted as queen and besides, she doesn t want to marry again.What made this book a good one for me was the character development, and the relationship between Julia and Azhar The love and trust that grows between them is believable, and when they re parted by his duty to his country, it s genuinely touching Both Julia and Azhar are good people with issues to overcome, and I liked rooting for them both to succeed and wind up together.If the plot itself seems less complex than it could be, I suppose it s a result of the kind of story it is a short novel focused mostly on the romance and on getting to happily ever after In a different kind of historical romance I could see there being manycomplications in terms of the cultural differences between the hero and heroine, the angst caused by their emotional and psychological baggage, and the political machinations of the kingdom.As it is, the cultural differences between Julia and Azhar aren t really even an issue and the political situation is fairly easily resolved, and with no bloodshed It feels much too easy, because even from reading The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale, it certainly seems like Middle Eastern attitudes and beliefs of the 19th century would ve been a pretty big thing to overcome, and at least a few people would ve ended up with their heads chopped off P This story is a fantasy, in other words, but a well written and enjoyable one as long as you don t go into it expecting total realism Nice reading for a lazy weekend afternoon 3.5 stars.