JEWEL OF THE EAST

Victoria Vane
JEWEL OF THE EAST
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Publisher
Vane Publishing LLC
Release Date
January 2014
Series
Book 5 of The Devil Devere
Genre
Erotic Romance, Historical Romance

SUMMARY
Book # 5 in the award-winning Devil DeVere series. (May be read as a standalone.)
Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from the war with the colonies a shambles of a man. Now free from six years of captivity, he's still fettered by irrational fears that confine him to a life of seclusion.

Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, Salime fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from the man who once saved her life, Salime accepts a proposition to repay her debt to him by becoming a companion to his war-scarred friend.

Circumstance brings these two damaged souls together; but fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights.

THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES:
A Wild Night's Bride #1
The Virgin Huntress#2
The Devil You Know #3
The Devil's Match #4
A Devil's Touch #4.5
Jewel Of the East #5

PREQUEL VIGNETTES:
Devil in the Making #1
The Trouble With Sin #2

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jun 23, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
176 people found the following review helpful
From wonderfully creative pen of Victoria Vane comes the fifth installment of her steamy Devil DeVere series. Ms. Vane takes a familiar trope and breathes new life into it, using the magic of Scheherazade's tales and the beauty of nineteenth-century poetry to tell a story as imaginative as it is fiery. The blend of tradition English romance and nineteenth-century Orientalist legends make for a fresh, emotional and engaging romance for fans and new readers alike to enjoy.

Many years ago, Simon Singleton was a carefree dandy, devoted to pleasure and delighting in the verses he penned. But after one particularly reckless night with his best friends, Ned and the infamous DeVere, Simon's father bought him a commission in the army and sent him off to the American colonies. Six years later, Simon's friends have given him up for dead after learning that he was taken prisoner, only to find that he lives and is returning home. But the joyful homecoming they envision is cut ruthlessly short when they set eyes on the hollow-eyed, scarred, terrified man that their friend has become. Unable to bear another's touch, or escape the memories of his imprisonment, Simon is convinced that he can never live--or love--again.

But DeVere is determined to prove him wrong. And he knows just the person to bring him back to life. Many years ago, DeVere helped rescue a stunning beauty from a sultan's harem, Salime, "the jewel of the east". Since then, Salime has become one of the most sought-after courtesans in London. But a jealous rival is slowly destroying her reputation, and when the scar that she bears from her time in the east is revealed, Salime has no choice but to turn again to DeVere. Eager to pay back her debt to him, she agrees to tend to his injured friend. But Salime never imagined the emotions that would be stirred by her first look at the bedraggled Simon, or the true pleasure she yearns to feel in his arms.

Simon and Salime make a fantastically atypical couple. Both have their share of scars, both physical and emotional, and are in a unique position to appreciate the other's pain, and struggles with the outside world. Simon's suffering is heart-wrenching, but it was Salime's story that truly captured my heart. She had spent so long crafting a persona and a mystique that she is beginning to lose her self--literally, as well as figuratively. She might be stronger than Simon, or at least more well-prepared to handle her lot in life, and thus able to see past Simon's scars and fears, but that doesn't mean her burden isn't equally as heavy. Watching Simon reach out and help shoulder that burden, and to see her for who she really is, is one of the most meaningful aspects of this book.

I did find some elements of the writing a little heavy-handed, particularly the treatment of Simon's issues and his emotional issues. However, when he and Salime were together and actually interacting, their relationship was something truly special. The desire between them, and the physical chemistry they shared was fiery and palpable, but what truly drew me into their story was the acceptance and respect that developed between them. Though Salime is more talented at hiding her emotions, the truth of the matter is that she has suffered as much as Simon, and is as in need of healing as he is. That emotional connection is what makes this story so compelling.

The historic setting of this story is detailed and interesting, but what really grabbed my interest were the richly described worlds of Salime's stories and memories. These elements, and the emphasis on all the beautiful environments, foreign traditions, and haunting memories are a vital part of the book and make each scene richer and more memorable.

I particularly enjoyed the ending of this book, and the way Ms. Vane resolved the issues that were keeping the characters from realizing their happily ever after. The differences between Simon and Salime are not merely theoretical and are treated with the gravity they warrant. The conclusion of the story is just another example of Victoria Vane's superbly versatile imagination and touching sympathy with her characters. This is a very worthy addition to her now familiar, but still delightfully imaginative world, and her characters are as sizzling, passionate and compelling as any other that readers have encountered in the course of the Devil DeVere series. I have always enjoyed her stories and can only hope that other fans enjoy this installment as well!
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