Review: The Jewel of the East by Victoria Vane

JOTE 2CoverReviewed by Shelly

We finally get Simon’s story. If you’ve not read any of the Devil DeVere Stories, I wouldn’t suggest reading this one, as the story lines are closely entwined. After a long sentence in captivity, Captain Simon Singleton is back from his time in the colonies. He’s returned mentally broken but physically whole – well, for the most part. Finding out that his friend needs help recovering from the trauma of prolonged imprisonment, Ludovic decides to step in like he always does and fix what he thinks is broken. Ludovic’s solution for Simon is the lovely and exotic jewel of the east, Salime. During Simon’s internment, he developed the symptoms of many war scarred survivors and it’s this that Salime will help him with. I wanted to love this story, but I ended up just liking it instead.

Simon is without a doubt a very broken man since his return. In his life prior to his military commission, he was the poet and lover of all things women, even going so far as to write poetry for prostitutes. I’m sure there was some significance to him falling in love with one, because everyone knew that he fell in love at the drop of a hat, but when he returned all that changed.  This read like a novella to me. There were things about Simon, especially his experiences during his time away, that would have been nice to know in this story and would have made for good reading.

Salime, like Simon, has been mentioned prior to this story, so she’s not a new character either. She played a part in Diana and Ludovic’s story. The first half of this story was slow. It took a lot to get the characters moving and I didn’t start getting into the storyline until the second half of the story. Salime’s story is a complicated one.  I don’t think I really got to know her and what she’s been through in prior life as a slave. Even the relationship that she had with Mustafa, her guard, was weird and came off as – master and servant. I say that to say this: She’s been a slave for the majority of her life and doesn’t like it although she’s come to accept. Yet she had no compunction about treating Mustafa as basically a throwaway person.  Yes, there’s more about her background in this one, but throughout I didn’t feel for her as I did for Diana.

The chemistry between Salime and Simon was hot, but they really felt like just words on a paper to me and I just didn’t find them as enticing as some of the prior stories. The ‘I love you’ started flying really early in this one – about three days in as a matter of fact. And I just couldn’t see how that worked with Simon’s post war problems. Salime was good, but she wasn’t that good, or not that I could see.

For me, this story didn’t work as well as Diana and Ludovic’s story or even Ned and his wife’s story. But if you’ve read the other installments in the series and want to know what happened with Simon and Salime, I would definitely recommend picking this one up.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Jewel of the East
by Victoria Vane
Release Date: January 20, 2014

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