Interest: Romance/ NetGalley/Sheikh
Sayid al Kadar was trained from childhood to be a warrior. He's fought, he's conquered-but was never meant to rule... Thrust reluctantly to the throne, Sheikh Sayid is shocked to discover a child who is his country's true heir, and he'll do anything to protect him, even if it means taking on the child's aunt!
Chloe James might behave like a tigress protecting her cub, but this trained soldier can see her weak spot. Taking Chloe as his bride would appease the people of his kingdom, and provide the perfect outlet for the blistering chemistry between them....(summary from goodreads.com)
I revived a free e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not swayed my opinion of the book in any way.
My favorite Harlequin Romance is Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress by Lucy Monroe. Therefore, I somewhat unrealistically, had very high hopes for Heir to a Desert Legacy by Maisey Yates. There was going to be Sheikhs, romance and bottled up male emotions only the right woman can release! (Yes, I read Harlequins with a less critical eye. I want and expect total cheesey goodness from them.) To be fair, Heir did have all of those elements in it. However, I felt the book simply didn't work for me.
Sayid is a fearsome warrior/symbol for his country. He is more machine than man in terms of having emotions or a heart. Great! I love a damaged hero. It was also made obvious Chloe has trust issues from a horrible home life. She is intensely logical, but somehow feels an illogical connection to the baby she carried for nine months as a surrogate. Alright, another challenge for us to navigate through on the way to the love shack. Except the writing regarding these two issues could only be called beating a dead horse. Almost every five pages their old issues and wounds were brought up.
The story was very intensely focused on Sayid and Chole and their issues. So much so that hardly any other characters made it into the novel. No other bonds outside of theirs were explored. Almost none of the culture of Attar was mentioned. The only nod to culture was Chloe receiving her wedding mehndi (henna)* and the tradition of the second son being a warrior while the first was a ruler. There could have been such an incredible amount of culture, relationships and emotion placed into the novel which simply weren't there.
*The novel's scene of Chloe's hands and feet being drawn on with mehndi is incorrect. A few moments after the woman finished drawing on her, Chloe was up, walking around and crossing her arms. You cannot do this with mehndi! It has to dry for a minimum of 1 to 2 hours. That will produce the lightest markings possible. For darker mehndi, it needs to be left on longer. When the mehndi is dry, it needs to be scraped off with fingernails or a dull and flat instrument like a butter knife. Chloe would have smeared her markings all over the place and onto her clothes.
Chloe and Sayid had a good amount of chemistry. I feel as though Chloe let go of her past injuries too quickly in forcing herself to trust him. I wouldn't have preferred for her to wallow in insecurity. Still, I felt a bit more conflict in herself could have been explored. I also was not thrilled with how Chloe and Sayid fell in love. It pretty much went sex and BOOM "I am in love with you and I know you'd never hurt me." I didn't think they'd had enough relationship growth to warrant such strong and sudden feelings.
Overall, Heir to a Desert Legacy wasn't an awesome romance read for me. Still, for readers who like tortured heroes and heroines, romance and babies this would be a good novel.
Teaser Lines: "Habibti, with you, I always have something to look forward to."