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City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn
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City of Jasmine (edition 2014)

by Deanna Raybourn (Author)

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13114135,528 (3.67)12
Member:JLSMEG
Title:City of Jasmine
Authors:Deanna Raybourn (Author)
Info:MIRA (2014), 368 pages
Collections:Read in 2017
Rating:***
Tags:Historical Fiction, Deliah Drummond, Archaeology, Middle East, 1920s, Damascus, Artifacts

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City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
There are a few things you can always count on with a Deanna Raybourn novel: a plucky heroine, stellar dialogue, wonderful descriptions, copious amounts of wit, a smouldering romance and a bit of history to ground it all in reality. City of Jasmine has all of that, as well as a textbook MacGuffin to keep the plot moving forward through the Syrian desert in 1920. Raybourne's greatest achievement might be always making me want to visit whatever setting she's selling. Since vacationing to Syria isn't an option right now, I'll just round up some friends and head to the hooka bar down the street.

What I loved most about City of Jasmine, though, were the little connections to her Lady Julia Grey series, as well as her Africa novel, A Spear of Summer Grass. I can get easily bored by a series - the same characters doing the same thing over and over - but connecting her books through past characters (Tarquin March from Lady Julia, Ryder from A Spear of Summer Grass) gives readers the series they crave while keeping the characters, plots and settings fresh. Plus, sussing out all of the connections is like hunting for little Easter eggs. If I'm not much mistaken, Raybourn obliquely mentioned Nicholas Brisbane in the City of Jasmine denouement. These little tidbits make me want to go back and re-read her previous novels to see what other connections there might be. (It is also going to drive me crazy if I don't figure out how old Julia and Brisbane would be in 1920. Are they still alive? For someone who hates math, I am constantly trying to figure out ages and dates in novels. It makes my head hurt, but it weirdly makes me love a novel more.)

If I had one complaint, and this is a complaint I have for almost all Historical Fiction novels: there wasn't a map! Publishers listen up: It should be the Golden Rule of Historical Fiction to include maps, especially in novels where there's a journey. Please?

In short, if you are looking for a fun read with enjoyable characters doing adventurous things in lush settings, you can never go wrong with a Deanna Raybourn novel and City of Jasmine fits the bill nicely.

(I received an Advanced Reader Copy of City of Jasmine through a contest on Raybourn's blog.)



( )
  MelissaLenhardt | Mar 11, 2018 |
Review Posted on HarlequinJunkie.com

I’m going to preface my review by saying this isn’t what I would call a ‘standard’ romance novel. I’d classify it as more of a Historical Intrigue/Adventure story. That being said, if you stop now – you’re missing out on one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, written by an amazingly talented author. If you decide to pick this up, do yourself a favor, go and get the prequel – Whisper of Jasmine. It gives the background on the two main characters in this story, and sets up the intrigue plotline as well. Read More ( )
  Aleveria | Jan 12, 2017 |
A surprising disappointment! I can't believe I'm saying this about one of Raybourn's books because she is one of my favorite authors and I've really liked everything she has written but this one really didn't do a whole lot for me. I felt like the storyline was all over the place. It's like she couldn't decide what the main plot should be so she just threw all of her ideas in there together; from searching for Evangeline Starke's missing husband, to locating a missing artifact and to top it off, leading a group of Bedouins to fight off rebels etc. etc. Don't get me wrong, I do like a lot of action in my stories but a little cohesiveness goes a long way and this one was lacking in it. I also didn't care for Evangeline's personality. She came across as rude and childish most of the time I thought. The story wasn't completely terrible but it definitely wasn't Raybourn's best writing either.  ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn is a 2014 MIRA publication.

This book has a very long 'wait' list with my library so I've had to cool my heels waiting with much anticipation to read this book. Finally, this week, it became available to me after being 'on hold' for what seemed like an eternity. So, once I got it downloaded, I dropped everything else and dived into this book immediately.

This is a unique novel for this author, best known for her 'Lady Julia' historical mystery series. Set in the 1920's the adventuresome aviatrix Evangeline Starke, a woman well ahead of her time, is preparing for a whirlwind tour in her aeroplane, but takes a detour when a bombshell revelation takes her to Damascus in search of a long lost love and maybe even a priceless artifact.

I love historical adventures and the author does an amazing job of creating the atmosphere of the decade, with very vivid details of the surroundings, and introducing us to some very colorful characters, some of whom were terrible villains and some that I simply loved.

This story is all about intrigue, the hunt and fight for a priceless artifact, and the adventures Evangeline and Gabriel have while trying to retrieve the artifact and stay alive. This is also a love story, but it's very unconventional and I dare say some may balk at the outcome. It was a little hard to swallow sometimes and I admit, Gabriel was a tough nut to crack, and I never quite knew how to take him. Still, I couldn't help but forgive him in the end.

I really enjoyed going along on this adventure with Evangeline and Gabriel and this wonderfully zany and offbeat cast of characters. This is a satisfying and enjoyable historical mystery and romance. ( )
  gpangel | Oct 15, 2015 |
Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke married her wildchild husband after knowing him just one night, and though it was a relationship full of passion they were on the verge of divorce when he died suddenly in the sinking of the Lusitania. Or did he? Five years later Evie discovers he just may be alive, which sets her off on a crazy quest to find him and get some answers. With lovely sensory-rich writing and a charming cast of international characters, including Evie’s Aunt Dove who in her younger days had been one of those forward-thinking, world-traveling Victorian women, City of Jasmine is an entertaining escape, though I missed Aunt Dove when Evie takes off across the desert without her. Part romance and part a fast-paced Indiana Jones type adventure it manages to include both Peter Pan themes and post-WWI Mideast politics. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Oct 11, 2014 |
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For Tara Parsons on his first grand adventure.
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Two small figures were beating against he rock; the girl had fainted and lay on the boy's arm.
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"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" --… (more)

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