Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review: City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

Thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Set against the lush, exotic European colonial outposts of the 1920s, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn delivers the captivating tale of one woman who embarks upon a journey to see the world—and ends up finding intrigue, danger and a love beyond all reason. 
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, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt. 

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 jewelled 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, Evie must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever...

It is no secret that I adore Deanna Raybourn’s books. They are well written, brilliantly researched and beautifully constructed, funny, smart, clever and entertaining and always, always have a fantastic heroine at their heart. What’s not to like?

I have to admit that ‘A Spear of Summer Grass’ was not quite as much my cup of tea as the Lady Julia mysteries, but with the release of her latest offering ‘City of Jasmine’ I am more on board with these latest 1920s standalones than ever. The brilliance of them is that each one is set to stand on its own two feet, and does so marvellously, but at the same time with each new release (just wait for Raybourn’s next novel set for release in September this year ‘Night of a Thousand Stars’) they become more and more entwined. You see familiar characters, minor cameos and it gives these fresh novels a sense of wonderful familiarity.

I will admit that I think that my enjoyment of ‘City of Jasmine’ was heightened by not reading the prequel novella ‘Whisper of Jasmine’ until afterwards. Because I hadn’t read it first it meant that there was a wonderful twist at the end of City that I wouldn’t have experienced with the same awestruck delight had I read Whisper first, so if you are trying to decide whether to read this novel, I highly recommend doing it that way around to start with – particularly if you are a fan of Raybourn’s other novels.

I don’t really want to say more because it is such a delicious book to go into when you don’t really know anything beyond the blurb. I shall simply say that it is just a brilliant as Raybourn’s previous novels. I adored Aunt Dove and Evie and had my heart in my mouth throughout most of the book. It is a fantastic romp with some darker moments as well. The scene setting was sublime and I absolutely loved the tie ins that start to weave all the stories together. If you weren’t such a fan of ‘A Spear of Summer Grass’ I highly recommend trying ‘City of Jasmine’ because Raybourn really seems to hit her 1920s stride with this novel. And also if you were a fan of the film ‘The Mummy’ I have a feeling you’ll love this one. A perfect piece of fast paced escapism with another feisty heroine.

No comments:

Post a Comment