Review: At the Sheikh’s Bidding – Chantelle Shaw

  • Title: At the Sheikh’s Bidding
  • Author: Chantelle Shaw
  • Genre: Romance
  • Why: Clearance sale at The Works – 25 pence per book!
  • Rating: 1 Star

Description: Forced to marry – a sheikh!

Erin Maguire’s life changes overnight when she discovers her adopted son is heir to the throne of a desert kingdom! One minute she’s looking after little Kazim in her Yorkshire home, and the next they’re en route to Qubbah with the boy’s uncle, powerfully sexy Zahir bin Kahlid al Muntassir! Zahir insists that Kazim remains in Qubbah.

But Erin won’t leave her son, so Zahir demands that she must marry him! The chemistry between them is red-hot, but how will Erin – a virgin and a commoner – cope with being wife to a sheikh?

Review: I’m not usually in the habit of reviewing these bog standard Mills & Boon pieces of fluff, but that’s because normally they’re very middle of the road and you can’t say a lot about them. This one, however… Dear God, where do I start?

‘Mills & Boon Modern’ it says on the cover, and a quick peek at the publishing date shows that this book stems from 2008, but if you’d told me it was written and published in 1978 I’d have found it more believable. The arrogant, hateful, mid-thirties hero and the virginal early twenties (at most) heroine were very much in vogue back then. I really hoped we’d progressed beyond that kind of dynamic, but I guess not.

Just to be clear, I have no inherent problem with arrogant heroes. Arrogant heroes whose redeeming features don’t show up until page 139 (in a 190-page book), however, piss me off. Until that point his only redeeming features are his awesome manliness and god-like appearance. And don’t take that from me, take that from the author herself:

He was an arrogant pig – but unfortunately he looked like a golden-skinned demi-god in black tailored trousers and a white silk shirt which was so fine that she could clearly make out the ridges of his powerful abdominal muscles beneath it.

For the better part of the book there is nothing more going on between hero and heroine other than powerful sexual attraction and constant mental reviews of how sexy/awesome/virile/seductive/beautiful/wanton/manly/feminine the other one looks, while at the same time lamenting the fact that they loathe each other so much.

All of that might not be so bad, really – to each their own, and I’m sure there’s plenty of readers who love this whole arrogant pig malarkey – if it weren’t for the return of the Kiss as Punishment.

I’ll spell it out: kisses as punishment are not sexy. The book is full of occurrences such as this one:

His arms felt like steel bands holding her fast, and when he forced his tongue between her lips she moaned and tried to turn her head to evade his ruthless assault.

Perfect word choice there, because that’s what it is: sexual assault. I don’t care that twenty seconds later she’s putty in his arms and unable to resist his powerful masculinity, using force is bad, mmkay?

So, if all of the above is what floats your boat, knock yourself out – you’ll love this one. If you don’t, give it a wide berth.

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