Wednesday, May 30, 2012

REVIEW: Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson

Synopsis (from Amazon): At twenty-three, Saba Tarcan knows her only hope of escaping the clamor of Cardiff Bay, Wales, lies in her voice. While traveling Britain, singing for wounded soldiers, Saba meets handsome fighter pilot Dom Benson, recovering from burns after a crash. When Saba auditions to entertain troops in far-off lands, Dom follows her to London. Just as their relationship begins to take root, Saba is sent to sing in Africa, and Dom is assigned a new mission in the Middle East. As Saba explores Cairo’s bazaars, finding friendship among the troupe’s acrobats and dancers, Dom returns to the cockpit once again, both thrilled and terrified to be flying above the desert floor. In spite of great danger, the two resolve to reunite. 

When Saba learns that her position makes her uniquely qualified for a secret mission of international importance, she agrees to help the British Secret Service, concealing her role from Dom. Her decision will jeopardize not only her safety but also the love of her life. 

My Thoughts: Saba Tarcan wants nothing more than to see the world and knows her voice is her ticket to doing so even if it draws the ire of her strict Turkish father who thinks his daughter's performing is shameful.  Saba follows her heart anyway and in one of her performances for injured soldiers she meets recovering pilot Dom Benson.  After their brief encounter, Saba soon joins a troop entertaining soldiers fighting in the exotic climate of North Africa but Dom can't forget her face or voice and resolves to do two things: find Saba again and return to the air.  Once reunited the two develop a passionate love but their bond is tested as duties, misunderstandings, and tragic circumstances force them apart. 

There were parts of this book I really loved-Saba's adventures touring Egypt with her fellow troupe members (especially free spirit Arletta and even whiny Janine), and glimpses of the war being fought in this setting instead of the usual focus on Europe.  I also really liked seeing Saba come into her own from a young girl from Wales unsure of herself to a more confident woman willing to take risks both in the war effort and in love.  I could feel the chemistry between Dom and Saba and I was hooked reading along as their unlikely romance unfolded.  Unfortunately, there were also a few parts that I thought could have been fleshed out more or been written a bit more realistically.  Dom and Saba's relationship fluctuates based on a series of misunderstandings and the thing that stands out to me is that many of them could have been resolved if the characters had just talked to each other or made more of an effort to search out the truth instead of letting their insecurities overtake them.  Also, I wish there had been more detail concerning Saba's spying.  It was never clear to me exactly what information she was supposed to be gathering or why this information was of such importance that the here one minute and gone the next Mr. Cleeve would be willing to put her in such danger.  The descriptions of the parties she attends for these efforts were entertaining but it seems to me on a spy mission there would be specifics on what she was searching out instead of a general order to glean whatever information she could.  It seemed a bit too broad to me.

Despite it being a bit bumpy here and there I really did enjoy this story.  I loved the setting and rooted for Dom and Saba all the way through.  I would recommend this if you are a fan World War 2 era historical fiction or love a good romance.

Release Date: June 5th

 This book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I have really enjoyed Julia Gregson's other books so I am really looking forward to reading this one!