From the blurb:
From the bestselling author of EAST OF THE SUN comes an extraordinary love story.
It is 1942 and the war is tearing Europe apart, shattering lives and devastating countries. But for some, it will be the greatest of adventures.
Saba, a striking, headstrong singer from Wales defies her family to chase her dream of performing to the troops in Europe. It’s a journey that will take her from the faded glamour of Cairo to the heat and opulence of Istanbul, into a decadent, dangerous world of soldiers, spies and double agents. Some want her voice, some her love, and some the secrets she is perfectly placed to discover…
Dom, an RAF pilot, was badly burned when his Spitfire crashed in Suffolk. He knows that flying again is the only way he will conquer the demons that haunt him. Plagued by a dark guilt, a chance meeting with Saba gives him something to hope for. And sometimes daring to fall in love can be the bravest thing of all.
JASMINE NIGHTS is a captivating love story set in a world on the brink of change.
Three reasons why I bought this book:
1. The cover drew me in, conveying romance and an exotic setting and a bygone time – all favourites for me in novels.
2. It’s one of the Richard and Judy Book Club reads, and as I recently read another of their books and loved it (The Fever Tree – see http://www.hannahfielding.net/?p=1745), I took that to be a good recommendation for this book.
3. I read on the back-cover blurb that the book is partly set in ‘the faded glamour of Alexandria’ – my birthplace.
There is much to love in this book. It has that feel of an epic romance, given the fraught time in which it is set, the journeying to foreign climes, the drama and the heroics of the armed forces and the performing arts.
The characters really jump off the page, colourful and vibrant and realistic and highly engaging. I especially loved Dom, and the fact that the author tells the story from his point of view as well as Saba’s, allowing us to see the unfolding story from both sides.
The story I found fascinating, especially the exploration of ENSA – the entertainment wing of the British armed forces that worked during World War 2 to boost the morale of troops in the field. My knowledge of this was really limited to the famous Vera Lynn before reading the book, and I was delighted to get such insight into ENSA through the novel. Very interesting indeed.
I loved the historical setting of the book, especially the references to the music of the time and the fashions (an amusing hair-dying fiasco made me smile). This is the kind of book you can imagine as a film because the sense of the era comes through so strongly. I’d have loved some more descriptions of the places featured in the book, because I so love to imagine exotic settings in my mind as I read, but I understand that this is a more story-led book than a descriptive one.
What I loved most in the book was the very last scene. Without wishing to give away the ending, suffice it to say that it got my heart racing and left me feeling light-hearted and so very glad I had read the book.
Jasmine Nights is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.