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"Explain it in a way that she can understand," Hassan shouted. "I want her to understand your treachery. Tell her now, or I will cut off your ears, your nose, and every part of your body until you confess your sin." While several of his crewmen held Emile steady, Hassan pressed his saber against the doctor's ear. "This is your last opportunity to confess," he warned as he pushed his saber deep enough to draw blood.
Beads of sweat rolled down Emile's forehead. "I deceived you, Sarah." His voice quivered as he spoke in English. "We intended to murder your father when we decided to give you passage to France."
"What murder?" Sarah asked.
Sarah Campbell is a rarity among women in her time. Raised by her Scottish father and the natives of a remote island in the South Pacific. Sarah and her father embark on a perilous journey to Scotland. Their crew betrays them and murders her father for the purpose of selling Sarah into slavery. She is rescued by an unlikely hero. Hassan Aziz, the most feared pirate on the Barbary Coast. She quickly discovers that she is unprepared for the complex world that is suddenly thrust upon her. Sarah must find a way to survive in a world that intrigues and terrifies her.
A Maiden's Honor, Josanna Thompson's sweeping debut novel, carries the reader, along with her beguiling heroine, Sarah Campbell, from the South Seas, through the harems of Algiers, to the shores of England. Packed with daring tales of piracy, loyalty, and passion, A Maiden's Honor is an exciting new entry to the shelves of historical fiction and leaves readers wanting more. Kathleen Ferrari
From Romance Reviews Magazine
Life in a Harem and the practices defined as part of life within a Sultan's palace is unacceptable and sexist for 21st century thinking. Thus, the era in which Joanna Thomson's novel is set, it is nonetheless a safer place than most for those sold into slavery, and a strict hierarchy exists and woe betide anyone who breaks the rules. Strange as it may seem, women within Harems of the Ottoman Empire stretching to the Barbary Coast, had more rights and power than most European women had within marriages, so sayeth the renowned English aristocrat Lady Mary Wortley-Montague, who stated in one of her 18th century letters: "The Turks govern their country and their wives govern them. In no other country do women enjoy themselves as much."
Be assured the author has researched her subject matter in depth, right down to names for individual items of clothing worn by women of the Harem, and of a south sea island maiden, though the true heritage of Sarah and the colour of her hair sets her apart from other women, just it had for another who arrived at theHarem and is thus presented to Naa'il Dhar. Throughout the beginning of the novel two stories of two women run parallel and finally merge as one, and yet neither woman meets the other. Whilst Naa'il is the central pin in their respective stories aside from the swashbuckling hero Hassan, Naa'il is a man of his time and his religion, wealthy and powerful, and yet his faith is tested, just as the hero's faith and belief he can rescue the woman he loves is tested.
Hassan Aziz's existence as a Barbary pirate is key to knowledge in how to achieve his aims, but the fact he is not what he seems is also reliant on betrayal of those closest to Naa'il. This is a fascinating novel of south sea island innocence, treachery, lust, and love, the kind of love that comes once in a lifetime if a man is lucky, and both Naa'il and Hassan are driven to acts that astound both in their own way because of two women. So alike is Sarah to Cora, an American captive; Naa'il's conscience plagues him for his unjust treatment of both women who refuse to submit and embrace his religious dictate. Although I mention love and lust, this is ahistorical novel combined with romance, and the novel is not a steamy read in the vein of eroticism. The characters are well-rounded, their faults exposed, and the punishment of slaves and concubines, or favoured wives who deceive, can be realistically harsh. All told this is an enlightening read with hints at how one person's religion can give cause for another to doubt their own.
Genre: Romance, Action & Adventure
Excerpt Chapter One:
Josanna Thompson has been weaving stories for as long as she can remember.
As a history major, Josanna developed a passion for learning about how people in history lived.
An avid traveler, she was fortunate enough to explore many of these distant lands in her stories.
Josanna utilizes her three passions to weave stories that she hopes you will in enjoy.
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