February 18, 2011

Sold. With one word, Lady Elena Ravenscliffe’s destiny changes forever. Forced into Constantinople’s slave market to pay off her late husband’s debts and save her son, Elena reinvents herself as Jinan—a harem girl adored by the rich lords who bid on her favors. But one man instantly sees through her façade.

Griffin Summerfield, Marquess of Rothburn, let Elena slip through his fingers years ago. When he recognizes her on the auction block, he pays an outrageous sum to possess her even if it is for a short period of time. But when his deadline looms, Griffin will risk all in a desperate bid to make her his—and his alone…

Title: Surrender of a Lady
Author: Tiffany Clare
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year of release: 2010, September 28
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Won an ARC of this book in a Twitter contest held by author

First line:
“What do you mean you’ll work this out? You’ve gambled me away! I’m your wife for heaven’s sake!”

Memorable Scenes:
- Elena’s reunion with her infant son > absolutely heartbreaking!

The heroine of this book, Elena Ravenscliffe, is gambled away by her irresponsible and self-centered husband. She ends up in a harem as a sex slave after being bought at a slave market. As the harem girl Jinan she is forced to grow up from a young, almost naïve girl into a strong, resilient woman of the world.

The hero of this book was a bit of a problem for me. He’s a former opium-addict and from the start I found him a little selfish and I didn’t really click with him to begin with. Sadly this never improved throughout the book.

Though I really enjoyed reading this book, there were also a few things that didn’t quite work for me. First was the hero, but there was also the placement of chapter 3 in relation to chapters 4 through 7 in the chronology. I didn’t understand the reason for not keeping it chronologically and put the events of that chapter after chapter 7. I am sure the author and/or editor must have had a reason for this but it never was clear to me and though this did not lessen the enjoyment of the book, it did take me out of the reading flow a little during that first part of the book.

In this unusual historical romance Tiffany Clare is not afraid to touch subjects like prostitution, drug addiction and kidnapping in a way that was acceptable to me as a reader who is sometimes wary of these subjects. I also liked that she kept non hero/heroine sexual activities from going all the way in detail and mostly off the page, the way she did for example in the scene with Jinan and Amir. I don’t think I could have handled or appreciated a detailed scene at that point.

While I really loved the first part of the book, despite the minor chronology issue, I was a bit less enthusiastic about the start of the second part of the book as in that part I lost the connection with the romance and the characters a bit and I missed some crucial plot information, which once again took me out of the reading flow trying to sort it out in my head. Though I can’t fully condone what Griffin did in the beginning of this second part of the book, on the other hand Jinan had refused to tell him about herself and her past so he had no way of knowing how hurtful his actions were. However, what he does further on is inexcusable. He just seemed totally blind and deaf to Jinan’s feelings and completely unwilling to see the difficulty of the position she was in and in my opinion that just went on too long and Griffin went too far in his hardheadedness.

As much as Griffin made me want to pound my head against the wall, I really loved and admired Jinan for the strong, determined woman she had become, standing her ground and facing a man deaf and blind to her protests, reasoning and dilemma.

I must say that a HEA seemed unattainable and I was constantly wondering how on earth the story was going to have a happy ending. And when the conclusion had started to take form I couldn’t help but feel a bit of trepidation. It was certainly not a HEA the way I was expecting and for me there was not enough groveling from Griffin’s part in the end to justify his redemption. The end left me a bit unsatisfied despite the HEA that was definitely there.

SURRENDER OF A LADY is a wonderful and promising historical romance by debut author Tiffany Clare, with an admirable heroine, an unusual setting and an extraordinary premise. While the harem girl/sex slave trope is not uncommon in historical romance, Tiffany Clare managed to give it a unique twist that left me with absolutely no reason to question her imagination and writing skills. Her newest book is definitely on my order-list.

She was only Jinan here. Elena had died long ago when the last shred of decency she once esteemed herself in had been stolen. By the man she’d been forced to marry in the end. Men never brought her love. They brought her misery upon misery. Loneliness.


Aurian said...

Surprised to see a historical on your blog, your review does not tempt me to read it. Bertrice Small has written a few harem tales which I loved, but this just doesn't do it for me.

Pearl said...

@Aurian > I admit my last review here of a historical romance has been a few months but I do still read historals too, my TBR-pile is full of them :)
I've also reviewed a few for someone else's blog I occasionally review for.

But I have a few for my own blog on the To-Be-Reviewed pile so there will be more reviews of historicals coming in due course :)

Blodeuedd said...

Hm, I am leaning towards a meh when it comes to this book. I want more from HR, they are always just ok to me

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39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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GR Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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