Illustrator: Elaine Gignilliat
Published by: Dell
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Harem Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
MILD SPOILERS 😉
Other than E. M. Hull’s masterpiece, The Sheik, or Johanna Lindsey‘s Captive Bride, the Dell-published Desert Hostage by Diane Dunaway would qualify as my most-liked sheik romance.
Harems and desert sheiks romances aren’t usually my cup of tea, as I prefer historical heroes to be swordsmen, cowboys, or knights. Nevertheless, a man like Karim, who is passionately devoted to his heroine, makes for a great hero, and a romance with such a male protagonist will certainly catch my interest.
Desert Hostage is another book where the half-European, half-Arab sheik carries off his object of desire into the sandy dunes and makes her his.
The story starts with a bang, where we read about Karim’s mother and her desert abduction at the hands of a ruthless sheik. She plots and manipulates to have her son be taken to Europe, where he will be educated and ”civilized.”
In England, Karim then meets and falls for Juliette, a lovely and genteel young British woman. He pursues her with restrained fervor. Karim does his gallant best to woo Juliette. But Juliette is so dumb that she can’t make up her mind about what she wants in life.
There is a love triangle where Juliette can’t decide which man she wants. The other man is nothing compared to Karim, and it’s obvious who she should choose!
The middle of Desert Hostage lags a bit as Juliette is incredibly annoying with her indecisiveness. She also speaks in hushed whispers, like a Barbara Cartland heroine…very…slowly…like…this…
Then Karim finds out that Juliette is the daughter of his father’s sworn enemy. She has toyed with his heart as all evil British women do to men, as Karim thinks.
She will receive her due punishment, and Karim will have his revenge! He turns from a once gentlemanly suitor into a man set upon vengeance, and Juliette will pay dearly for treating him so callously!
While there is a harem here, it’s only featured briefly, as this story is a one-man-one-woman romance. Karim is a dedicated, faithful hero who is incredibly appealing.
Final Analysis of Desert Hostage
I read Diane Dunaway’s Desert Hostage not too long ago and found it a wonderful romance, just with a few lagging moments.
The hero is strong and powerful but not viciously cruel. Juliette is not a memorable heroine; it’s Karim who really makes this one shine.
I’ve put this book in storage for the time being, as one day, I will have to dig it out to give it a reread. It’s certainly worth it.
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The Searing Passion, The Savage Ecstasy…..
Behind her lay England and her innocent first encounter with love. Before her lay a mysterious land of forbidding majesty. Kidnapped, swept across the deserts of Araby, Juliette Clayton saw her past vanish in the endless, shifting sands.
Desperate and defiant, she sought escape only to find harrowing danger and to discover her one hope in the arms of her captor, the Sheik of El Abadan. Fearless and proud, he alone could tame her. She alone could possess his soul. Between them lay the secret that would bind her to him forever, a woman possesssed, a slave of love.DESERT HOSTAGE by DIANE DUNAWAY