ISOBELLE by Mary Lide


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Lide's previous historical romances have been set in the Middle Ages and brought out as mass-market originals. With this, her hard-cover debut, she has fast-forwarded to the late 19th century, when a proper English miss finds herself shipwrecked and alone off the coast of North Africa. Lide makes the most of both the exotic setting and the situation, as her heroine, Isobelle, stumbles onto a caravan, sidesteps a rape attempt, and convinces the Arab traders that the Europeans she hopes to find at the journey's end will reward them richly for handing her over safely. Gradually, however, it sinks in that she will find no friends in the Berber settlements near the Atlas Mountains, where she's headed. Instead, she's taken prisoner by a Berber lord, the Master of the High Tigran; she assumes he's an uncouth savage who means to force her into his harem, but the Master turns out to be half-French, handsome and gallant, locked in conflict to unite the Berber world against the Turkish Sultan to the north and the encroaching Europeans. In a mountain citadel she becomes his lover, then masterminds a plot to rescue him when he's taken prisoner by the Sheik of Sejilmi--though she claims all along that ""I am not brave by choice; bravery has been forced upon me."" Never mind the fact that in real life Isobelle would have been dead meat to a Berber warlord. The author's served up all the right elements to make historical-romance lovers steam in their armchairs.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1988
Publisher: Warner