Deanna Raybourn, City of Jasmine
Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke is in the midst of a big publicity stunt, flying her plane over the seven seas of antiquity. This trip is motivated by her need for money, her thirst for adventure, and her subconscious desire to move past the death of her husband, Gabriel, which occurred five years before. But when Evie receives a mysterious — and apparently current — photo of Gabriel, she is determined to discover whether he is still alive, and if so, what really happened to him five years ago. Her search takes her to the ancient city of Damascus, where various European countries are carving up the region into strategically advantageous states, and into the heart of the desert itself. What she finds is a priceless relic, ethnic tensions, life-threatening dangers, and possibly a second chance at love.
Something has happened to me in the way I react to Deanna Raybourn’s books. When I first read Silent in the Grave, I remember really loving it and being eager to read the rest of the series. I loved the combination of 19th century historical detail, mystery, and romance, which, as I recall, was fairly unique in my experience at the time. I think the issue is that, as time has passed, I’ve read a lot more books; I’ve become a more sophisticated consumer and have read more widely in the various genres I like. As a result, Raybourn’s brand of historical fiction no longer seems particularly unique or special to me. She has good plots and some funny lines, but her characters are pretty typical for the genre, and I’m not fond of the rugged alpha males she tends to use as heroes. This particular novel is quite entertaining, and I really can’t point to anything wrong with it; it just didn’t really excite me, and I’ve already removed it from my shelves.
2 thoughts on “Review: City of Jasmine”
I’ve gotten a bit tired of Deanna Raybourn’s books as well, although that happens with a lot of series writers for me. Who do you think is writing the best historical mysteries right now? I’ve always been a fan of Anne Perry and I liked CS Harris a lot before I got a little tired of her series too. I might go back to those.
Hmm, that’s a really good question, and I’m not sure I have a good answer! My favorite currently ongoing historical mystery series is the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch, which is set in Victorian England. My all-time favorites are probably the Julian Kestrel books by Kate Ross (Regency England) and the Brother Cadfael series (medieval England) by Ellis Peters. Both series are complete now, though, and Kate Ross has sadly passed away. I remember reading one Anne Perry novel and liking it, so I should check her out again…and I have the first three C.S. Harris books on my shelves already, waiting to be read!