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A Review of

Lost Love Found

by Bertrice Small

 

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Summary

This is the fifth book in a series of historical romance novels by Bertrice Small known as the Skye O'Malley Family Saga.

This historical romance novel set in 17th century England tells the story of Valentina St. Michael and her quest to find out the truth behind who her father might have been. A misadventure makes her an unwilling guest of the harem of the Grand Vizier of the Turkish government.

Lost Love Found

 

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Fact Sheet

Title

Lost Love Found

Author

Bertrice Small

ISBN

0-345-37419-3

Publisher

Ballantine Books

Category

Historical Romance Novel

Rating

StarStarStar

Number of Pages

495

Published In

1991

 

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Description

Set in the early 17th century in late Elizabethan England, this is a romance novel which tells of Valentina St. Michael and her quest to find out the truth behind who her father might have been. In other words, she goes looking for trouble, and of course, she finds it! Along the way, she is courted by two eligible bachelors, taken prisoner by a cruel Tatar chieftain who is an outcast among his own people, and absorbed into the harem of the Grand Vizier of the Turkish government. The reason I've included a review of this book on my web site is because part of it is set in Turkey.

This book is a sequel to A Love For All Time, another book by Bertrice Small in a series of romance novels centered around a character named Skye O'Malley and her extended family. A Love For All Time told the story about how Valentina's parents had met and found love. It also is a follow-up to some of the events in Love Wild And Fair, another Bertrice Small book in a separate series of romance novels. Some of the characters from Love Wild And Fair make a return appearance in this book, and Lost Love Found makes references back to the events that occurred in it.

Like many romance novels, this book definitely contains some explicit sex scenes. Although they didn't bother me, readers who prefer books to be less lusty probably wouldn't appreciate this one.

 

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Is It Right for You?

 

You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You enjoy historical fiction.
  • You enjoy romance novels.
  • You are fascinated by Ottoman harems of the 16th century and would enjoy a story that sets part of its action in one.
  • You would enjoy detailed descriptions of the food and clothing of the 17th century.

 

This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You read previous books in the Skye O'Malley Family Saga series and didn't find them very interesting.
  • You prefer romance novels whose sex scenes are less explicit.
  • You prefer stories with more complex character development.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

 

What I Liked:

  • The author clearly did extensive research when preparing this book. Although I certainly would not encourage anyone to think of a romance novel as being a legitimate source of historical or cultural information, I nonetheless was impressed at the overall use of historical detail in this book.
  • The story is told with sumptuous detail.
  • This book debunks the romanticized fantasies about life in the Ottoman harem that imagine it to be a place of pampering and sensual delights. It exposes some of the cold realities of that world. I applaud the author for her courage in addressing these issues head-on. This book portrayed the dark side of what it's like to be snatched away from everyone you love, be enslaved, and be subjected to the whims of someone who has ultimate power over you.

 

What I Didn't Like:

  • I don't find these characters to be as compelling as those in other books such as Skye O'Malley and A Love For All Time.
  • Although likable as a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth, Valentina St. Michael comes across in her dealings with her parents and suitors as a spoiled little rich girl.
  • Valentina's interactions with her two suitors seem artificial. The affectionate nicknames that her suitors use when addressing her kept jarring me out of the flow of the plot.
  • The author unnecessarily parades a number of characters from the first two books in the Skye O'Malley series in and out of the story without contributing anything of value to the plot. These walk-on appearances by characters who do little or nothing to further the plot of this book seem irrelevant, annoying, and gratuitous.
  • Lost Love Found was the first Bertrice Small book I ever read. I hadn't previously read the earlier books in the series. I felt lost most of the time. I kept wondering, "Why was this character introduced? S/he has not contributed anything useful to moving the story forward!"

 

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Conclusion

People who have enjoyed Bertrice Small's earlier books in the Skye O'Malley series will find it interesting to continue exploring the adventures of her extended family, as portrayed in Lost Love Found.

This book is weaker than some of the others that Bertrice Small has written. I much preferred The Kadin and A Love For All Time over this one. However, if you really enjoyed the other Bertrice Small books in the series about Skye O'Malley's and Janet Leslie's families, then you'll want to read this one to uncover the further adventures of the characters that appeared in them.

If you're the kind of person who enjoys historical romance novels, particularly ones with a hefty dose of passionate sex scenes, then you'll probably like this book very much. However, if you've never appreciated romance novels, or if you are squeamish about books with large amounts of explicit sex including some bondage, this is not the right book for you.

Valentina's sojourn in Turkey provides a mostly unhappy view of the Middle East, which I think is good. It appropriately debunks the fantasy view I've heard many describe in which they imagine life in a Turkish harem as focused on pampering and beauty. It reminds the reader that the world of the harem was a world of slavery, a world where women were denied control over decisions affecting their own lives.

This book is number five in the Skye O'Malley Family Saga series of books. (See the list below.) In addition, it is a partial sequel to Love Wild And Fair — it carries forward the stories of the Istanbul-based characters who were prominent parts of that story. If you want to read Lost Love Found, I would first urge you to read the other books that precede it in the continuity. Although the story is designed to stand on its own, and the book does provide brief explanations when necessary of what came before, I didn't find those explanations sufficient to help me understand the past events that held such an important influence over the plot of this one.

 

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Related Books

After finishing this book, if you'd like to read other books by Bertrice Small presenting other adventures in the Middle East and North Africa, there are many available to keep you reading for some time to come. Here is the order I would suggest reading them in, with links (when available) to reviews of them elsewhere on this web site:

  • The Kadin. This was Bertrice Small's first book, and everything else follows it. It is the first in the Leslie Famly series, sometimes called the Cyra Hafisa series.
  • Skye O'Malley. This is the first book in a series about a strong woman named Skye O'Malley and her extended family. Her adventures take her to Algeria at one point.
  • All The Sweet Tomorrows. This is the sequel to Skye O'Malley. Although I was a bit disappointed with this book, I would still recommend that if you liked Skye O'Malley enough to read more in the series, then you should read this before the others. Otherwise, you'll find some of the references to past events and characters in the later books confusing. Part of it takes place in Algeria and Morocco.
  • A Love For All Time. This one comes third in the Skye O'Malley family of books. Part of it takes place in Turkey, and it makes some references to characters who were originally introduced in The Kadin.
  • Love Wild And Fair. This is the sequel to The Kadin and part of the plot takes place in Turkey. It is the second in the Leslie Famly series, sometimes called the Cyra Hafisa series.
  • This Heart Of Mine. I don't plan to review this one for my site, because the heroine's adventures take her to India, which falls outside my geographical scope. But if you've enjoyed the other books about Skye's family so far, you'll want to read this one, which is number four in the series.
  • Lost Love Found. Bertrice Small takes you back to Turkey in this one, the fifth book in her story about Skye O'Malley and her family. Don't tackle this one unless you've read everything above. I made that mistake, and felt entirely confused at all the flashbacks explaining what had gone before.
  • Wild Jasmine. This is the natural sequel to This Heart Of Mine. I don't plan to review this one for my site, because the heroine's time outside of Europe takes place in India, which falls outside the geographic scope that I focus on for this web site. But if you're hooked on the Skye O'Malley series, you'll want to read this one, which is the sixth book in the series.

 

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Disclosures

There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.


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