I was a lucky duck and won this ARC from Carolyn Jewel from a contest on Twitter. Here there be the review:
Indiscreet is a story that plays out in the exotic setting of Turkey in the 1800’s. It follows the journey of Sabine Godard and Edward Foye, who are linked by a betrayal through no fault of their own.
For Miss Sabine Godard, the damage that was wrought upon her by a damaging statement has ruined her and left her reputation shattered in the eyes of society. Sabine now travels with her Uncle Henry Godard — who is riddled with gout — where she works as an assistant for him on a book he is composing.
Lord Edward Foye was betrayed by two people he cared very much for, and in the process had his heart broken. During the aftermath, he has decided that he will never marry. This all changes, though, when his older brother dies — leaving no children — which means Edward becomes the sole heir and the only member of his family’s lineage that is left. If he is to marry, Edward doesn’t want an untrained young woman. He wants an older, mature woman where he thinks he can keep his heart safe and untouched. But, unknown to him and to Miss Godard, their paths will be thrown together on a perilous journey and the tie that links them together brings about a connection and an all consuming attraction. Will Sabine be able to trust another man again, and will Edward risk putting his heart on the line for what could be the love of his life?
The description in Indiscreet was so precise and written so well I felt as if I was in Turkey, observing the characters through a glass window. From their first introduction to one another, and to the scene where they are eating orange and pomegranate sherbets from the vendor, Carolyn Jewel excelled in creating an exotic setting which felt real and not just a pretty background piece that props up her characters. Before each chapter begins, Carolyn outlays a short descriptive piece that comes off as a play which describes the chapter which I found to be very charming.
The setting itself plays a very important role in Indiscreet and the attention to detail of Turkey in this book is astounding. I admit, sometimes in historicals, I tend to skip over the time period details, but the writing in this book has such a melodious prose to it, I found myself unable to skip any passages.
I instantly liked Edward from the first chapter of the book. Without even knowing Sabine and how it would inevitably be tied up with him, Edward was championing and speaking for her cause in what would be the lie that would destroy her reputation. And from that chapter, we didn’t know what his mannerisms or characteristics were. He came across as a person who was well aware of the inequality that women faced in that day and age.
This story has a very slight beauty and beast feel to it. Edward’s physique is tall, very muscular and large in bone structure. He does not have a pretty face, far from it. This is Sabine’s description of him from Chapter three:
” Lord Foye was head and shoulders taller than her. His hair was dark, not quite black, and quite wilful in its curls. His eyes were the same blue as the Mediterranean. His nose was hooked, and the remainder of his features were set irregularly in his face, as if someone had put the parts together and had given them a hard shake before everything had quite settled into place.”
Even though Edward is used to his frame and features, there was some bitterness that lingered and it was a surprising change to see the heroine continuously telling the hero that he wasn’t unattractive.
Sabine is a very interesting, diverse and likeable character. I cared about what happening to her which shows the author has done a bang up job! She’s unapologetically smart since she was raised by her scholar Uncle when she was a child, and we don’t just hear that Sabine is smart. We see it in action and it shows the thorough research Carolyn Jewel has done.
I admire Sabine’s character for being aloof and curt towards Edward from the start, even though Edward had the best of intentions. I could understand her reasons why she couldn’t risk a friendship or even an acquaintance – even though it must have restricted her very much socially. I felt it was sad that Sabine had to be wary and think of every encounter she had with a strange man, especially someone from England in case they heard of the lie and thought her a whore. It really resonates strongly that women had it bloody tough back in those days, and the repercussions of the lie that was told about Sabine felt real and it wasn’t sugar coated.
After Sabine finally hears the truth and how it links with Edward, we see the guard she staunchly created disappear, especially when Edward comes into the vicinity and their attraction unfolds. There are many wonderful scenes where the intensity between the two came alive on the page. One of my favourite scenes,which shows this is when Sabine is drawing a sketch from a tower, and Lord Foye comes upon her. This was a pivotal scene for me. Sabine’s insecurities appear and it becomes apparent for the first time how really young Sabine is and how she has no experience with men, yet she has this compulsion to touch him.
Where she caresses Edwards curls back from his face gently, to where Edward picks up her hands and places kisses upon them. My heart melted when I read that scene and Carolyn Jewel draws it out at the right pace.
It’s all so gentle between them at first, but the intensity then blooms with senuality throughout the book and the tension becomes even more riveting as Sabine and Edward are forced to part ways. And their next meeting, or shall I say rescue, adds that vibrating zing as you know this part of the book is monumental for them as a couple and adds that zest of danger – where you don’t know if they will be forced to part again. What I loved about this book was that unpredictability. It’s a certainty that they will have their HEA, but I didn’t have a clue how many paths it would take.
If there is a criticism for the book, for me, it was towards the end. I didn’t think that the person who caused the original lie didn’t get their comeuppance, and I felt that it was sort of anticlimactic. The hurt and the damage caused didn’t seem to register, even though a sorry was mentioned. I just wish perhaps Edward had given him a thorough thrashing at the very least.
Other than that, to sum up this book: Bloody brilliant!