Rashid will do anything to get the love of his life out of a country about to be ripped apart by rebellion. Little does he know he’s also rescuing his son in the process. And a widdle baby Lhasa Apso puppy!
What’s it About?
Rashid will help Olivia and the baby she’s been caring for escape the violence in Behruz, but he must guard his heart. He can’t risk being hurt by her again. Olivia has her own reasons for keeping her distance from Rashid. If he learns that the baby is actually hers—and his—she will lose everything that matters to her. Their escape involves traveling with nomads across the mountains into Iran. As they trek together by day and sleep beside each other in a nomad tent at night, the attraction that has always drawn them to each other grows ever stronger. Can Olivia survive the trip without revealing her secrets and without losing her heart to Rashid once again?
When Rashid first arrives on the scene to rescue Olivia she is quite hesitant to go with him. After all, this is the man who deserted her two years before to supposedly marry another woman. Her brother-in-law, Abu-Khan, is also insistent that the growing tension in the country will soon be squandered, and rebellion is not a risk, so why leave? Now, I will admit it was kind of easy to see Olivia as…well…exceedingly naive. She seems to be placing more trust in a despot ruler who once tried to take advantage of her rather than the former love of her life. Not to mention the fact that more and more of her American newspapers aren’t being delivered. Maybe the political situation in the country is more distraught than he’d have you believe? However, with time we come to understand the extreme pressure Olivia was under following Rashid’s departure years before.
He left her pregnant (unbeknownst to him), with no word of how to get in touch with him, and it was during this depressing time that Olivia’s sister and brother-in-law convince her to allow them to adopt her son, Jamal, after he’s born. Following her sister’s untimely death, Olivia is left alone with no one but her son, and even then she must pretend as though he’s her nephew. It’s a dynamic web of emotion! Love, betrayal, anger. When Rashid returns and vows to get Olivia and Jamal out of the country by any means necessary, we see how her decision to follow Rashid denotes a level of trust that she could only place in the greatest love of her life. But why did he leave years before? How will he react to discovering Jamal is actually his son? Will they all make it to the border in one piece? And how will they manage to share one tent when all of the lust and passion they’ve suppressed the past two years comes bubbling up to the surface? Should make for an interesting road trip!
A Son in the Shadows and a Missing Villain
There are two characters in this novel who were underutilized. The first is Jamal. I think the main issue here was his age in that he’s only two years old. While he was still an unbelievably adorable child, his young age and lack of speaking ability means that we never get to hear his side of the story upon discovering the true identity of his father. Instead, this emotional connection between father and son is one-sided, as we only get to see Rashid’s opinion on the matter. In addition, Jamal is not really present for a majority of the story. While he is always in the same vicinity as Rashid and Olivia, he’s often passed off to be looked after by one of their nomad friends. I could definitely see the plus side in this as it gives mommy and daddy some sexy alone time, but I just would have liked to see a bit more incorporation of Jamal’s character into the family unit.
Another character who I would have liked to see a bit more from was Abu-Khan. In the beginning, he is presented as our overarching villain. A ruthless and heartless man who has his eyes set on making Olivia his. The threat of his reach is still felt as they all flee into the mountains. Throughout the novel I kept waiting for Abu-Khan to somehow make a reappearance. Perhaps his soldiers will discover them, or he’ll be slyly waiting for them at the border with an evil grin on his face. Turns out…not so much. The final drama doesn’t come about until the last 10% of the novel, and even then unfortunately we aren’t privy to the final standoff between Rashid and Abu-Khan. It all happens “off-screen”, and is seemingly resolved quickly without much issue. It’s almost like there was an attempt to humanize Abu-Khan’s character at the end. I guess I would have preferred to see him go full villain, or for us to at least witness a sensitive side to his personality. As it stands, his character felt too disjointed.
A Beautiful Landscape of People
Two aspects of this novel were above and beyond fantabulous, and those would be the scenery and the people. Firstly, the description of the landscape was indescribably beautiful. You can practically picture the sweeping beauty of the mountains. The second standout feature I really enjoyed was the people who helped our family make their escape. They represent the epitome of kindness, friendship and hospitality. We are provided a glimpse of a nomadic culture that is fascinating to discover, and I wish I could have learned even more. It would have been incredible if we’d had a few panoramic photos of both the landscape, as well as the outfits and living spaces of the people who inhabit this seemingly majestic environment. Look at me, I’m almost 30 and here I am still hoping for pretty pictures in my books. Oh well, nothing a simple Google search can’t fix!
*A copy of this book was presented for an honest review*
Should you read it? This novel presents us with a troubled country on the brink of rebellion, but the main focus is on Rashid and Olivia rekindling their love for each other. While the description of the mountainous landscape is top notch, I would have liked to see more depth to the dialogue, as well as more attention on the background between Rashid and Olivia. Their love affair years before, in addition to their long-standing friendship, was somewhat glossed over. I think if we had been give more info on how they first met, became friends and fell in love, it could have made their eventual split and reunion all the more emotional. I also would have preferred to see more incorporation of their son into the tale.
Smut Level: This couple has two years of missed moments to make up for, and they want to take advantage of it all. From a small river make out to sharing a sleeping bag on more than one occasion, they are rediscovering each other all over the place. Not an excessive amount of erotic detail though.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 208 Pages.