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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lure of the Emerald Peacock by Romona Hilliger

Lure of the Emerald Peacock by Romona Hilliger
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical, Suspense
Length: Full (205 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Honour-bound, Princess Dina must make the bitterest choice of her life. Duncan or the emerald peacock.

Princess Dina and her fiancĂ© Duncan are fleeing India, but Dina won’t leave without reclaiming her precious emerald peacock from the malicious Maharaja.

Dina is a woman caught between two worlds. Her father was British game hunter who had married an Indian woman of noble descent. Dina is the last of her mother’s dynasty, and the emerald peacock is all that remains of her heritage. Before Dina’s father died, he gave the emerald peacock to the old Maharaja for safe keeping until Dina turned twenty-one. However, the old Maharaja passes away, and his son, Ashok, intends to keep the valuable peacock for himself.

Now a grown woman of twenty-two, Dina has fallen in love with Duncan MacGavin, a Scottish engineer hired to oversee the construction of Ashok’s new palace. Dina and Duncan’s connection is strong and immediate. Eventually, Duncan asks Dina to marry him, but the path to their happy ending proves to be a rough one. India is a place of unrest. British rule in India is coming to an end, and many British people are pressured into leaving India. Duncan intends to take Dina back to Scotland with him, but she won’t leave without the precious emerald peacock.

Dina confronts Ashok, hoping he will relinquish the peacock, but finds he has no intention of giving her the peacock. Even worse, he intends to keep Dina for himself as well. Undeterred, Dina plans to steal the peacock, but Duncan won’t let her take that risk. Instead, he steals it for her. With the peacock in hand, Duncan and Dina begin their flight from India with Ashok’s men following close behind.

As a reader, one of the things I enjoy most about a book is the characters, and I thought Dina was a delightful heroine. She possessed the strength and courage of a woman, yet managed to retain a childlike innocence that I found endearing. Ms. Hilliger created an extremely strong hero in Duncan. He’s a bit rough around the edges, but his love and devotion to Dina never wavers.

In addition to well crafted characters, Ms. Hilliger’s use of descriptive language is also quite good. “Her beauty was beyond anything he’d ever imagined, the delicate eggshell texture of her skin and midnight hair that fell in waves to her waist captured his entire attention. And those lips, the colour and sweetness of a pink lady guava, demanded a man taste of them.” With description like this, I was able to clearly visualize the characters and the world that Ms. Hilliger created.

Also, I particularly enjoyed the progression of Duncan and Dina’s romance. Even though their attraction to each other was unbelievably strong, they didn’t rush into a physical relationship. Throughout the story, the sexual tension was amazing, and when they finally took their relationship to the next level, it made for an intense and very satisfying love scene.