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. 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 jeweled 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, she must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever.
©2014 Deanna Raybourn (P)2014 Tantor
"[Listeners] will quickly find themselves embarking on an unforgettable journey that fans both old and new are sure to savor." (Library Journal)
I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two Lady Julia Grey stories but this book was very disappointing. The main characters, Evangeline and Gabriel, are pale copies of Julia and Brisbane and the minor characters lack the charm and originality of those in Miss Raybourn's other books.
Deanna Raybourn's strength as an author lies in creating such an atmosphere in her books, that the descriptions transport the reader to places with such richness and depth it's always a pleasure to dwell amongst colourful and unique characters.
However this time it was not enough to compensate for the authors greatest weakness - romance which has all the maturity of the Twilight series. In every book I have read by Deanna Rayburn the relationship dynamic is always the same - a seemly independent female falls in love with the strong male who "loves" her so much that he belittles, lies to her and generally treats her like a child (in this book Gabriel does in fact call Evangeline "child" several times) all for her own good, of course... Token displays of initiative by the female lead (which inevitably end badly) and some good come-backs are not enough to make this toxic relationship seem either interesting or romantic.
The reason it was particularly galling in City of Jasmine was because of the lack of narrative. The plot is very threadbare and the characters are simply thrown together with only brief and ultimately meaningless periods of action to relieve the constant bickering.
I will keep buying Deanna Raybourn's books because of her strengths and because her narratives are usually far better but I for one am sick to death of this type of relationship not only from this author but in the genre in general and I am constantly hoping for something more.
it took much effort to listen through the book. which is not bad at all. i like the story and i love the author's style, but it was very hard to listen to the narrator though..
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