Imagine 1001 Nights, but instead of telling tales, the heroine has to use wits and the skills/assets she's been blessed with. This is a short novelette inspired by the original story. Issalia has been hidden away by her parents as the king of their kingdom has an extreme hatred against women. He takes one maiden as his wife every year, deflowers them, and kills them. So far, he has killed three. Will Issalia be his fourth? When Toridesh lays eyes on her one fateful day in the marketplace, he thinks yes.
She's taken to his palace and becomes his bride...only she doesn't die the next day. Why? She is wise. She uses her skills with herbs, womanly seduction, and just plain simple common sense as she tries to get through to the king. Can she show him that not all women are bad? Can she break this...curse?
In a time when books feel like the same story told over and over, I was very pleased to discover myself shocked at two different turns. DeWinters manages to give an old story many new twists. I'm not big on descriptions, but this author managed to describe things from the food to the decor to the characters in such eloquent prose, I felt I was there eating the fruit, riding the camel, touching the king.
And the best part was...this man will kill her once her deflowers her, yet her body yearns for him. Loved her inner turmoil. "More often than not, her mind and body urged her to simply give in, be taken and suffer the consequences." Imagine wanting a man that bad...I could feel it with the heroine.
There's also humor, most notably when Issalia finds out about her diet. I won't reveal more than that.