The Sheikh’s Guarded Heart
So this is my first “Sheikh” romance in a while. I make it a point to avoid these type of books with this brand of Middle Eastern hero, just ‘cause there’s a trope that often depicts them as being super Alpha, barbaric even!
I don’t have any deserve to waste my time on romance heroes I’m going to hate. But I went in reading this with a grain of salt. I told myself I’d DNF this if it got to be unbearable, but thankfully it didn’t.
Our hero is Sheikh Hanif al-Khatib and he ends up saving the heroine, Lucy Forrester in the beginning. Saves her and then invites her to recuperate at his oasis garden palace while her lost documents for her return to the home in the UK are put together for her by her embassy.
Of course close quarters begins to breed even more attraction and Lucy and Hanif (or Han, as she called him) learn about the hardships of the each other’s lives: Lucy was an abandoned child and she was raised by her austere, difficult grandmother who pushed religion on her. Hanif lost his wife and he isn’t about to win Father of the Year for raising his toddler daughter.
I liked Hanif because he wasn’t bat shit crazy. Usually these alpha Sheikh heroes are all in the Western heroines face, trying to control her and crap, and there’s cultural difference that don’t make the story deep but only aggravate an already cliché plot.
Hanif was all right. Yeah there are moments where he shows “wisdom” about something or another, but Lucy gets her say – and she gets it a lot. Lucy was okay as far as heroines go. She’s bland in personality even if Hanif bolsters her poor self-confidence in her image by repeatedly telling her she’s beautiful whenever his breath is taken away or something. I did feel bad for Lucy. She had a pretty hard life growing up and it’s aggravated by a recently bad stunt that leads her through the desert of Hanif’s country and literally into his arms.
It wasn’t bad. I actually enjoyed it more when Ameerah, Hanif’s little daughter came to the garden palace. She brightened things up a bit and it felt like the story was moving forward.
Hanif wasn’t a passionate guy even if he seemed pretty intent on getting with Lucy. I should warn that this book is a sweet romance. So no sex. Not even closed doors. They wait until marriage, presumably, and that doesn’t take place on paper.
Still as far as Sheikh romances go, I’d say this one is safe if you’re a reader like me that can’t tolerate that image of the barbaric Arab hero who beats his chest when the predominantly white, Western heroine doesn’t listen to his Eastern philosophies…blahblahbleck!