Not just set in the past, Song of the Nile indulges in assumptions and relationship dynamics that many readers will believe should have been left there. After Aida’s initial rejection, Phares continues to turn up in pursuit of her, behaving possessively and frequently grabbing, touching, and kissing her despite her expressed refusal of consent. “You refuse me and yet your body does not,” he eventually tells her, and moments later she embraces him, “inviting his assault.” Aida, meanwhile, inevitably is enticed by the harem-owning Bedouin prince who has kidnapped her, reminding herself that he’s “A barbarian cloaked in a deceptive coat of civilisation.”
The most passionate love story in this romance is with historical Egypt. Fielding’s descriptions of the setting are detailed and lovingly rendered, at times overtaking the plot in importance. Readers will be swept away by enchantment with the desert and the culture of life along the Nile, but that beauty only makes the arrogant brutality of Phares all the more stark and shocking. This is a lovely exploration of a bygone time in a stunning land, but contemporary readers should be aware that the male hero doesn’t take no for an answer.
Takeaway: An old-school romance centered on an alpha male who sweeps an objecting heroine onto his steed.
Great for fans of: Lauren Smith’s Wicked Designs, Maya Banks’s In Bed with a Highlander.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A