Saturday, February 1, 2014

Whisper Of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Obtained from: Personal Library
Read: January 31, 2014

Notorious socialite Delilah Drummond won't be deterred by the war. Instead, she decides to throw the event of the year, and she's handing out invitations with an eye for wanton fun and wild abandon. There is the dashing explorer and archaeologist Gabriel Stark, a man at a crossroads in his life. Brilliant and restless, he's just committed to a secret enterprise that forces him to play a public role very different from the man he truly is. And then there is the charming if flighty Evangeline Merriweather. Evie has dreamed her whole life of adventure. Little does she know, she's about to get more than she bargained for. Especially after her vivacious Aunt Dove acts as fairy godmother, if a saucy one, providing a scandalous gown and a whisper of jasmine on her skin... Evie will shake cool Gabriel to his core, but just how far are they willing to take love at first sight? One seductive night will change Evie forever. Watch for her next adventure, in the City of Jasmine.

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Image by Angela Andriot
Deanna Raybourn's prequel novella, Whisper of Jasmine, is a delightful short and an amusing lead-in to City of Jasmine. Building a foundation for the larger story, Raybourn hints at many of the larger novel's motifs in this humorous six chapter narrative.

Having developed a bit of a crush on Gabriel Stark while reading City of Jasmine, I was only too happy to see a bit of his carefree impetuousness in this piece, but I also loved how Raybourn used the novella to showcase Aunt Dove's eccentricities and Delilah's burgeoning self-confidence, independence and sass. 

Infused with Raybourn's signature wit, I couldn't help chuckling at her playful dialogue and clever characterizations. A fun and flirtatious romance, Whisper of Jasmine plays beautifully into the exotic intrigue that follows. 

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“You haven’t had too much of Delilah’s punch have you? Rumour has it she has voodoo spells and love potions from New Orleans. I wouldn’t put it past her to have tipped something into the punch.”
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