Tag Archives: Ancient Egypt

dawn of desire

Historical Romance Review: Dawn of Desire by Joyce Verette

Dawn of Desire, Joyce Verette, Avon, 1976, cover artist TBD

MILD SPOILERS 😉

3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Book

If Joyce Verette’s Dawn of Desire had been marketed differently, I would have read this Ancient Egypt-set novel with an open mind. Then I would not have been as disinterested as I initially was. This is not a romance novel, but paranormal historical fiction. The cover was a clinch, so I figured it was a bodice-ripper, as it and the title implied. Published by Avon in the mid-1970s, I imagined it would feature some rollicking and tawdry love-making. Mostly, I found Dawn’s Desire passionless.

The Plot

Part One

The first 200 pages are dull, with events happening that were quick and not fleshed out. Fortunately, the last half of the book was compelling enough for me to finish.

The story begins with the opening chapter where everybody lies in the heat, sleeping or waking up. Floating on her ship on the Nile, our heroine engages in the same activities for pages on end. It was like like that old meme “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat,” without the “rave,” just some “eat,” and a lot of “sleep.”

Queen Nefrytataten of Tamehu and Prince Amenemhet of Tashemau are betrothed to marry to unite the two kingdoms of Egypt. It’s love at first sight for the blue-eyed Queen and golden-eyed prince: a very boring love. Unfortunately, insta-luv stories without internal conflict usually are.

Before they can enjoy their honeymoon, the queen’s ship is attacked. A handsome desert bandit kidnaps Nefrytataten, and she gets amnesia. As evil priests plot to control the Upper and Lower Kingdoms, the newly crowned king searches for his wife, disguising himself as a commoner.

A setup like this should have led to a riveting tale, but the author’s voice was so bland that the dominoes fell predictably. There was no tension: villains are introduced and quickly dispatched. Lovers reunite.

Part Two

The latter half of the book is actually more interesting. Nefrytataten and Amenemhet travel across the Mediterranean into the ocean to Atlantis. They discover Atlantis is the source of Egypt’s heritage.

Ghosts appear, and magical spells are cast. A priestess plots to seduce Amenemhet and kill the queen. A silver cat, a cobra, a hawk, and some more ghosts save the day.

Final Analysis of Dawn of Desire

What I enjoy so much about older romances were the elaborate plots that made them page-turners. This book was not a romance, so it was paced differently. As it’s the first in a trilogy, there’s plenty of room for character development. Since I own one of the sequels, I’ll read it.

One day. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I enjoyed the ancient Egyptian setting and some of the paranormal events, but the love story was not the main aspect. I found Suzanne Robinson’s Egypt-set novel, Heart of the Falcon, was more focused on romance, therefore a better book. As a romance Dawn of Desire is lacking, but as history-fantasy-epic, it’s fairly good.

Slap a different cover and rename the book, and I think I would have liked it more.

Heart of the Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson

historical romance review
Heart of the Falcon Rating: four-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: TBD
Published by: Bantam
Genres: Historical Romance, Ancient World Romance
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

What a rarity in the romance genre was Heart of the Falcon, a historical about lovers in ancient Egypt. Although Suzanne Robinson wrote Egyptian mystery novels under her given name, this is her sole romance set in this era. Most of her other romances took place during the Elizabethan, Medieval, or Victorian time periods.

The Plot

Anqet is an orphan and her evil uncle lusts after her. To get her in his bed, he connives to steal her land. Anqet may be an innocent all alone in the world, but she’s no push-over. This is a woman determined to gain them back. She will go to the Egyptian court and maneuver through a realm of politics and lust. Anqet is stunningly beautiful and perfect and maybe a teensy bit too good to be true.

Thankfully, the hero is far more interesting and complex. Set is a red-haired man of mystery. His heritage is mixed, as his mother’s people come from a place to the north. There was a horrible scandal years ago where Set burned his mother’s corpse rather than have her embalmed and entombed. This is seen as sacrilegious and marks Set as an outsider.

Anqet gets pulled into a world of political intrigue. The villains really steal the show here. There’s a court priest and Set’s former mistress, with the two scheming and lusting over the protagonists. The villainess vamps it up Ancient Egypt style, donning multiple wigs and breast-revealing robes.

Final Analysis of Heart of the Falcon

Unfortunately, there’s this moment just before Heart of the Falcon ends that soured me, forcing me to drop a star rating.

WARNING SPOILER ⚠️ AHEAD

To save the Anqet’s life, Set must sleep with the villainess, his former lover, one more time. He’s able to complete the act by thinking of the heroine. If this had taken place in the middle of the book, I wouldn’t have cared. But with this scene just pages from the end, it put a bitter taste in my mouth about the conclusion. That’s the first thing I think about when recalling this book, besides the setting.

That’s a personal peeve, however. Otherwise, this unique tale of love and drama in the ancient world was a solid read by Suzanne Robinson.

3.5 Stars

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Synopsis

Only one woman could win the…Heart of the Falcon.

All her life, raven-haired Anqet had basked in the tranquility of Nefer…until the day her father died and her uncle descended upon the estate, hungry for her land, hungry for her. Desperate to escape his cruel obsession, she fled. But now, masquerading as a commoner in the magnificent city of Thebes, Anqet faces a new danger.

Mysterious and seductive, Count Seth seems to be a soldier loyal to the pharaoh. Yet soon Anqet will find that he’s drawn her into a web of treachery and desire, where one false move could end her life… and his fiery passion could brand her soul forever.

Set against the glorious opulence of the pharaoh’s court, this is a breathtaking tale, rich with pageantry and aflame with unforgettable romance.

Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson