Title: The Sheik Retold
Genre: Historical Romance/Early 20th Century
Author: Victoria Vane and E.M. Hull
Publisher: Vane Publishing LLC, August 2013
Source: Free for review from V. Vane
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from amazon.com
Pride and passion vie for supremacy between a haughty young heiress and a savage son of the Sahara in this fresh new telling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic.
A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground… A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own… “There will be inquiries.” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay dearly for what you have done. “Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French have no jurisdiction over me. There is no law here above my own.” My trepidation was growing by the minute. “Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?” “Why?” He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. “Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”
When pride and passion vie for supremacy, blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…
Edith Maude Hull wrote the wildly successful novel THE SHEIK in 1919. It was published through 50 printings and made into a famous silent movie with Rudolph Valentino. I have read the original THE SHEIK and thought to do a side by side review with Victoria Vanes reimagining of the story. But Victoria rightfully gave co-authorship credit to Edith . The beginning few chapters follows the original Sheik quite closely, it is only after Diana is kidnapped by Sheik Ahmed that more of Victoria’s take on the story is revealed. This is a truly interesting novel. Although Victoria gives a disclaimer concerning how she eliminated rape and animal cruelty, just eliminating these forms of abuse does not negate the rampant abuse present in the novel. This is a story of a woman with “Stockholm Syndrome”. She falls in love with her captor and she excuses his abusive nature. E.M. Hull didn’t know to call it a “syndrome” but that is what it is whether in 1919 or 2013.
I did enjoy Victoria’s rendition of the book and I applaud the way she adhered to the storyline only digressing to make the book better. There has been care taken to show that a bad man is not all bad, that he is a complex individual. This is a historical romance set in the early 20th century in Algeria and the Sahara Desert.. Diana is a wealthy, spoiled , naïve and willful young woman. Ahmed is a totalitarian ruler of his hoard. Well written by both authors with well drawn and complex characters I highly recommend it.
The following is an edited explanation of Stockholm Syndrome from www.counsellingresources.com :
It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:
- The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat.
- The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
- Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
- The perceived inability to escape the situation
“Cognitive Dissonance” explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable.
The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.