Feisty, famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke finds adventure and love in the deserts of Damascus as she hunts for her husband, presumed dead for the last five years.
Since Gabriel Starke wasn’t found after the Lusitania sank, Evangeline has struggled to keep him off her mind—after all, he did abandon her in Shanghai after only four months of a passionate, tempestuous marriage (Whisper of Jasmine, 2014). To be fair, she had just asked for a divorce. Since then, to keep the bills paid, she’s relied on her skills as a barnstormer, staging a series of privately sponsored flights over the seven seas of antiquity. Accompanying her are her gay friend Wally, heir to the Viscount Walters and a whiz-bang mechanic; her sassy Aunt Dove, an adventuress in her own day; and Dove’s spoiled parrot. As the final leg of the gig approaches, however, Evangeline is sent a photograph of Gabriel, who is evidently not dead after all. Impetuously, Evangeline detours to Damascus, intent upon finding Gabriel. Soon she finds herself courted by the dashing Mr. Halliday, an English diplomat, while her thoughts turn frustratingly and inexorably to Gabriel. Did she come to the famed City of Jasmine to give Gabriel a piece of her mind or her heart? Is he really just an adventure-seeking archaeologist? Surprisingly, Gabriel is in disguise and after a priceless artifact hidden at an excavation. Other, unsavory characters are after the artifact as well, sending the Starkes on a grueling journey across the Badiyat ash-Sham, punished by the desert elements and taunted by murderous villains. Raybourn deftly weaves together humor and suspense with sharp, sparking repartee and unexpected plot twists.
A little romance, a little mystery, a little exotic travelogue and a lot of screwball comedy add up to a delightful tale.