Teresa Medeiros manages to make me shed tears more often than any other romance authors. Something in her stories always speaks to my sentimental self. This story is one of unrequitted love, going on 9 years long. When Clarinda was just 17 and Ash 21. Ash left to make a better future, to become worthy of Clarinda. In doing so, he lost her. Or so he thought.
I cannot say more without making the review spoilery. Suffice it to say that all is not what it seems and both had reasons to believe that the person they loved chose something or something over them. They had misunderstanding but were not cruel to each other. Sometimes writers are so hung up giving us a big misunderstanding to create the tention and make the lead characters treat each other like garbage. So unromantic. But Teresa Medeiros always manage to show that caring side of both lead characters.
The "exotic" setting is indeed intriguing. I was not so impressed with the secondary romance but it was written with wit so I tolerated it well enough. The harem setting did not do much for me but since that is how the story is supposed to play out, I went along. Clarinda and Ash alone could have carried the story without these fancy tropes, I feel. But the writer wrote the book this way, I respectifully accept her literary decisions.
I was surprised how fast I finished the story. This book has more than 500 pages. But I skipped a lot of the descriptions. They were just not necessary for the story and I think that is the missing star.
All in all, classic Teresa Medeiros. I enjoyed reading the book because of her style and the loving characters she created. I do feel the relationship could have been depicted in a more heart-wrentching way but I feel that she stopped short before reaching that point. So this book leaves me with the feeling that it is a good story that could have been so wonderful.