HAREM by Dora Levy Mossanen


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Idiotic debut following the erotic adventures of a young Jewish maiden as she’s initiated into the secret world of a Persian harem, to emerge as the most powerful woman in the realm.

This is the kind of tale where people have names like the Great Black Eunuch and the One-Eyed Rabbi. It all begins with Rebekah. Betrothed to a brutal and ignorant blacksmith (Jacob the Fatherless) while still a child, she is branded between the breasts but promised that she will not be made to have sex before puberty. Jacob breaks his vow in short order, however, and his act pretty well establishes the pattern of their married life. Fortunately, Jacob dies while Rebekah is still young and attractive enough to make a decent living as a whore (she walks about town in sandals that spell out “follow me” in the sand). The only good thing Rebekah got from Jacob was her daughter Gold Dust, a stunning beauty who loves her mother and grows up well schooled in the arts of seduction. Eventually, somehow or other, Gold Dust ends up in the Shah’s harem, where she distinguishes herself in her ability to arouse her master even on the worst of days through a combination of looks, technique, and audacity (hint: other girls get brought into the action in novel and quite striking ways). Harems, being full of women who usually have a good deal of time on their hands, can be very bitchy places, but Gold Dust survives the inevitable backbiting to become the Shah’s favorite—and to endear herself to others of the group as well. By the close, she’ll have given birth to a daughter, the Albino Princess Raven (sic), heiress to the Peacock Throne.

Too much fellatio for a standard Harlequin number but, other than that, indistinguishable from the Spicy Romance genre.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7432-3021-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2002


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