Tag Archives: Historical Romance early 20th century

Recent Release Review- The Sheik Retold by Victoria Vane and E.M. Hull

Title:  The Sheik Retold

The Sheik Retold book

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

Rating: 5

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.



Filed under Book review, Books, E-Book, Historical Romance, Kindle

Review-Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Title:  Letters From Skye

Letters From Skye

Genre:  Historical Romance (early 20th century)

Author:  Jessica Brockmole

Publisher: Ballantine, July 2013

Source:  Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5-behind closed doors

Description from Amazon Vine:

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.


This book was written in a letter writing format.  The entire book is written with letters between various characters.  This is the first book I’ve read in this format and I find I like it.

This was an interesting book that compelled me to keep reading so that the mystery would be revealed.  There were a couple of mysteries.  Who was Margaret’s father? What happened to David and Elspeth? What caused the rift in the family? Those were cleared up by the end of the book.  But The characters actions seemed a bit farfetched.  I could not quite grasp all the travel all over the British Isles in the midst of war in 1918, nor the story of sending prisoners clothing, books and blankets.  This may have been allowed but it just didn’t sound rational to me.  Also why all the secrecy about Margaret?  Although this was not a bad read, neither was it a very good read.  It was okay if you like the letter format and suspend some skepticism.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Historical Romance