Harlequin Romance #1318
3 1/2 stars
So, this book may be a bit of an oldie, as it was published in 1969 not post-1972, but I’m running short on reviews for this weekend, plus it’s a Violet Winspear–an author whose works I enjoy. This one was a nice read, besides.
In Winspear’s Palace of the Peacocks the heroine Temple Lane is typical of so many of her vintage romance sisters: orphaned, industrious, faithful, and unworldly. When she flies out to Indonesia to meet up with her long-time fiancé, her life falls into shambles after she discovers his affair with a local girl. Without any funds and no way back home, she’s desperate to find employment. Temple disguises herself as a boy to gain entry on a ship. She’s bunked with stoic, one-eyed, Dutchman Ryk van Helden (Winspear had a thing for maiming heroes, didn’t she? Blinding them, cutting off their limbs, etc.,).
Eventually, Temple’s true identity is revealed and Ryk offers Temple a job transcribing old journals in his beautifully enchanting palace. Ryk also provides Temple with housing and a female servant. The maid is obvious in her resentment of Temple, as she has designs on Ryk herself.
As the weeks pass, Temple slowly falls under the combined spell of the romantic tale she’s working on and the seductive surroundings. Not to mention her cold, yet dangerously attractive employer. Ryk treats Temple dismissively and acts superior to her in every way, but she’s no meek girl and meets his seeming disdain with lots of spirit.
Final Analysis of Palace of the Peacocks
I really enjoyed this book, despite it containing my big romance pet peeve of the hero-in-mourning-for-his-dead-lover. Fortunately, Winspear doesn’t ever go into Ryk’s head; he’s written enigmatically until the very end. That’s what I like: a man of mystery, albeit one we know, deep down, is falling hard for his heroine. None of this psychoanalyzing the hero’s thoughts every two pages. Give me that long-awaited declaration of love in the end!
Palace of the Peacocks is a satisfying romance with a jealous other-woman, an entrancing locale, a heroine who gives as good as she gets, and a seemingly-cool hero who falls madly for her.