Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.



by Monica Burns

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
233785,262 (3.7)1
Raised in a brothel, Allegra Synnford learned at a young age that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully--vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing sheikh strips that control from her.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 3 of 3
Kismet certainly had the goods to be a fascinating a sensuous read. Allegra is the kind of heroine authors and readers dream of. She's gutsy, brave, instinctive and not afraid of using her body to get what she wants. I found this sad because she was actually a very smart woman with a good head on her shoulders and a courageous spirit but her life was a troubled one that led her to do whatever necessary to survive. The sheikh on the other hand is a man of many secrets. The path he travels is full of suspicion, intrigue and control. He has to be alert at all times to keep one step ahead of his enemies. Kismet is a story that revolves around hidden agendas, destroying secrets and a turbulent relationship that is as contradictory as the lives of it's main characters. ( )
  Lashea677 | Feb 16, 2019 |
Pros: The heroine is extremely resilient and courageous.

Cons: The hero seems to feel that he has a right to what he wants, despite what the heroine thinks or feels about it.

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

Allegra Synnford is an accomplished courtesan used to being in complete control, choosing her lovers and keeping them from getting too close. She has a set of ethics, unlike many courtesans, and this is one of the things that intrigues Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh. Allegra is unlike other courtesans that he knew in his life as Viscount Newcastle, and he finds himself more and more attracted to her. She couldn't have become a distraction at a worse time; enemies are threatening to undermine the work that he's spent years on and those same enemies are coming to understand what Allegra means to him. Can the two of them learn to trust each other? Fate, kismet, has its own way of working things out...

One of my guilty romance pleasures is the "noble desert nomad warrior" motif. It started when Egyptian-related romances I read would bleed over into tales of desert warriors and female archeologists finding their happily ever afters. The more I read in this sub-genre, though, the more I notice that authors sometimes use ideas of Bedouin or nomadic values to justify the hero's Alpha Male "I will do whatever I want to win the girl I want" train of thought. Ms. Burns' "Kismet" steps over that line for me several times, and so I had trouble enjoying a good deal of the book.

I really enjoyed Allegra's perspective; although she was sold by her mother into prostitution, she has chosen not to let that embitter her. Granted, she's struggled quite a bit in her life, but she hasn't sacrificed her morals or values in the process. When she encounters a tough situation, she tries to make the best of it so that she can survive. I also appreciated the fact that she was completely unapologetic about being a courtesan; her pride in her abilities is one of the things that makes me love her so much, along with her unwillingness to give up.

When it came to Sheikh Shaheen, however, I ran hot and cold over and over. Knowing that he was the hero of the story made me want to like him, but his actions just left me cold. Keeping the woman that he wants restricted to his camp despite her repeated attempts to leave with fairly flimsy excuses wasn't an honorable course of action, especially after he "disciplined" her and humiliated her in front of his tribe. (And as she points out more than once, he had no authority over her to do so). Throughout the whole book, Shaheen could have saved so much trouble and heartache if he could have been honest with Allegra. I understand that he has woman, brother, and father issues, but in my book that's no excuse for behavior that consistently borders on abuse. (The "Bedouin tribal rules" excuse doesn't work for him either; there are a couple of instances where even one of his tribe's members points out that he's getting out of line.)

That being said, Ms. Burns does an excellent job of bringing both urban and desert Morocco to life. We get to see not only the contrast between European and Arabic society, but we also get a chance to experience the sense of community that a tribe must have in order to survive as a unit. It's also interesting to see how the Bedouin see themselves, as apart from the Arabic society of the time. They are a political force to be reckoned with in their own right, which leads to some interesting conflicts within the story.

Although Shaheen spoiled a good deal of the book for me with his actions, when I had opportunities to forget about his selfishness I loved the setting and the other characters in the book. Allegra's integrity and resilience, despite the stereotypes associated with her profession, made her a character I adored getting to know. Watching some of the intrigue play out was also fascinating, giving the reader some insight into the labyrinthine politics of the area. I just wish that I felt like the ending really was a happily-ever-after, instead of an ending that might give them both cause for grief later. After Shaheen's actions, I just couldn't have much faith in his remorse and vows of change. ( )
  ReneBlock | Aug 27, 2010 |
Everything about this book screamed unusual; the setting, the heroine's occupation, a hero in hiding, so it was a given once I got past the rather brilliant cover that this one would be high up on my 'gotta read it' list. And I'm ever so glad that I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Allegra, the heroine, had a horrid young life. She was sold to a brothel by her mother who also sold her older sister into the same kind of life. She was rescued from this life by a 'patron' when she became his mistress. And Allegra is not a 'fake' mistress. She's the real deal. After her first 'patron' died, she was determined to rule her own life and she was the one who would be choosing her protectors. She became what they needed, not only skilled in the art of seduction, but also offered her intelligence. She traveled to Marrakesh to attend a friends wedding and to delay the inevitable task of telling her young niece what she really does for a living. She first notices the hero, Shaheen when she tries to buy an extraordinary horse from him. Shaheen notices her, but when he finds out her true occupation, he leaps to conclusions about her based on a tragic experience that led to his self-imposed banishment to Morocco. But still he is drawn to her in ways he doesn't like. And he is not the only one drawn to her. Nassar, the brutal and vicious brother of the Sheik he works for, kidnaps Allegra and it is Shaheen that comes to her rescue.

Allegra is everything admirable in a heroine. She is strong and independent, yet shows flashes of vulnerability. She has had a tough life, but has become her own person and won't let anyone tell her what to do. Although deeply attracted to Shaheen, she is determined to resist him and does a pretty good job through-out much of the book, knowing that he can have power over her she's not willing to give.

Shaheen is also pretty darn yummy. An Englishman by birth, he was willing to die because of the guilt he felt over an incident in his past. But now he has made a name for himself and a new life and family in Morocco. He has brokered many a treaty between warring tribal Sheiks and united them together. When a relative shows up looking for him, he refuses to let Allegra go after rescuing her, believing that all the work he has done will be for naught. I had some issues with him for being a bit too mired in the wrong he was done by a former courtesan. While he soon realizes that Allegra is nothing like his former paramour, at times he does seem to forget and acts accordingly - treating Allegra most unfairly. Still, overall, he makes for a good alpha type hero who suffers ghosts of his own. And we do get that grovel at the end.

The way the author has written the setting is excellent. Most of the book takes place in either Marakesh or in tribal camps and the atmosphere is excellent. When reading this book, the author made me really feel like I was there. There are fewer things finer than discovering a new author! ( )
  dkthain | Jun 14, 2010 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica Burnsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Griffin, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For my sister Marsha, because you believed
First words
Organized chaos. Allegra could think of no other way to describe the train station. The rhythmic sound of the Berber dialect mixing with the French language created a colorful cacophony of sound that engulfed her the moment she stepped onto the crowded platform. A whoosh of steam from the engine blasted its way out into the air adding to the din.
“Tell me, sir, if you were to win this wager,
what do you expect for your one night of pleasure?”
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Raised in a brothel, Allegra Synnford learned at a young age that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully--vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing sheikh strips that control from her.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
It was a gamble she was born to make…

Raised in a brothel at a young age, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully—vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing Sheikh strips that control from her…

With a man who wasn’t used to losing.

Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. It’s why the yearnings this dangerous temptress ignites within him are so troubling. Worse, thoughts of Allegra pervade every fantasy, threatening to undermine his cover. With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all cost. In fact, he’s betting on it. That’s a risky wager when it comes to a woman of pleasure. But Allegra has her own reasons for playing games…with a man who can’t afford to lose.

What happens between them is Kismet…
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.7)
3 2
4 2
4.5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 158,992,582 books! | Top bar: Always visible