I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn
Also by this author: Silent In The Grave, Silent In The Sanctuary, Silent on the Moor, Night of a Thousand Stars
Published by Harlequin on 2014-03-01
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Buy on Amazon
Set against the lush, exotic European colonial outposts of the 1920s, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn delivers the captivating tale of one woman who embarks upon a journey to see the world—and ends up finding intrigue, danger and a love beyond all reason. Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke never expected to see her husband, adventurer Gabriel Starke, ever again. They had been a golden couple, enjoying a whirlwind courtship amid the backdrop of a glittering social set in prewar London until his sudden death with the sinking of the Lusitania. Five years later, beginning to embrace life again, Evie embarks upon a flight around the world, collecting fame and admirers along the way. In the midst of her triumphant tour, she is shocked to receive a mysterious—and recent—photograph of Gabriel, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt. With her eccentric aunt Dove in tow, Evie tracks the source of the photo to the ancient City of Jasmine, Damascus. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. Danger lurks at every turn, and at stake is a priceless relic, an artifact once lost to time and so valuable that criminals will stop at nothing to acquire it—even murder. Leaving the jewelled city behind, Evie sets off across the punishing sands of the desert to unearth the truth of Gabriel's disappearance and retrieve a relic straight from the pages of history. Along the way, Evie must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever….
Deanna Raybourn writes such delightful books. If you have not read her books yet, I recommend that you start with her Lady Julia Grey series, so that by the time you get to City Of Jasmine which is unconnected with the Lady Julia Grey books you are already a solid fan. I began reading City Of Jasmine on a dark spring day where the weather can’t decide if it wants to snow or rain. Instantly, I was transported to the 1920s when aviation was becoming a “thing” and when rich people had the leisure of traveling throughout the British colonies instead of working. If you are looking for escapist romantic historical fiction, get your hands on City Of Jasmine.
Evangeline Stark is an aviatrix, meaning that she’s a female pilot. When City Of Jasmine opens, Evie is completing a tour of the Seven Seas of Antiquity with her eccentric Aunt Dove and her airplane, named the Jolly Roger for Peter Pan, which holds so much significance with this book. While going through her mail, Evie comes across a dirty banged up envelope, within is a photograph of her husband, Gabriel Stark. This would not be such a big deal except for the fact that he drowned on the Lusitania five years earlier. Turns out, Gabriel is not dead so Evie treks with her Aunt Dove to Damascus, the City Of Jasmine to find Gabriel and get some answers. What results is a grand adventure with entirely lovable characters and a swoon worthy romance.
Deanna Raybourn has created one of my new favorite main characters. Evie has some real moxie. She has so much spirit and talks too much and has a tendency to word vomit or to talk too much. What I love about her though is that she owns her faults completely. She also wears bright red lipstick and is a barnstormer. Evie is the sort of character that I want to be when I grow up. Instead of letting all the bad things in her life get to her, like bills that are piling up and a missing husband, she bucks up and sets out for adventure as a means of paying the bills.
Gabriel, the love interest, SWOON. BIG SWOON. And it’s not even gross to swoon over. He’s dashing and has this sense of honor. He and Evie fight quite a bit, but ugh, it’s SO PERFECT. I just, this is one ship that is one of my new favorites. I will say that Gabriel has his faults, but paired with Evie he is perfect. They are both stubborn to a fault. They both think they know what is best, when really a compromise would do just fine. Gabriel also quotes poetry and calls himself one of the Lost Boys and oh man, you just have to read this. If you are someone who reads for the romance, you can expect a love hate relationship, nostalgia, and some unexpected kissing moments.
The secondary characters are not to be missed. Aunt Dove, you are my favorite sassy old lady ever. I LOVE HER ALWAYS. Also, her parrot named Arthur. Seriously, Aunt Dove is a total hoot and I dare you to read this book and not fall in love with this Victorian adventuress. Then there is Sheikh Hamid whom I won’t tell you everything about, but will just let you read and learn about him. Also, Evie hires a dragoman named Rashid who is a keen judge of character. Furthermore, there’s Herr Doktor who plays a pretty large role in the book and manages to totally charm me with his interesting backstory. All of Raybourn’s characters are vivid and fascinating.
Speaking of vivid, if you are the sort of person who reads historical fiction because you want to be transported without climbing into a time machine, this book, City Of Jasmine should do the trick for you. The setting of Damascus and the desert is perfect. I loved reading about the Bedouins and the True Cross and THE FOOD. There are a lot of passages that detail the interesting dishes that Evie was eating that I wish there had been recipes in the back because they sounded really good. Honestly, this book made me escape to a far away land and really sparked my imagination.
Basically, I am in love with this book. I want to recommend it to all of my historical fiction loving friends and all of my romance loving friends. I don’t often get to read books with a desert setting and I have to say, that City Of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn is hypnotic, much like the desert it is set in. I absolutely recommend this book to you, especially when you want an escape.