The Merchant’s Pearl by Amie O’Brien
My Rating: Four Hearts
Spice Level: Two Kisses
Sarai was led to believe that the whole world could exchange their beliefs for hers. But when her parents are murdered, she quickly learns that the world never stops for just one person. The world takes, forgets, and swiftly moves on.
By 1875, she isn’t even Sarai anymore. She had spent her teenage years repackaged as Leila, a palace concubine-in-waiting for the overly indulgent, Ottoman Sultan, Abdul’Aziz. Leila does her best to stay out of the eye of ‘Aziz as well as his son, Prince Emre. But when young and thoughtful Emre claims Leila for his own harem, she is forced out of her shell and thrown into a ring of competitive women.
Here, she cannot hide from the attention her young master wishes to lavish upon her. Nor can she can avoid the ruthless retaliations of his prior favorite, Aster. But it’s the unexpected gift of sexual sanctuary and an inside look into his family’s struggles that really collides with Leila’s upbringing. Soon, despite her better judgment, she finds her heart becoming increasingly tied to him.
But can she submit her faith and independent spirit to such a future—a future where to be loved means settling for the fact that she can only ever be his favorite? Will she be able to take turns sharing him among the four beautiful girls he had received before her, one being a jealous rival and another a closest friend? And what will happen to their love if Emre’s father can’t hold together his fragile kingdom, an empire that has grave threats encroaching from every side…including within?
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.
This is very different from what I usually read and I really liked it! I loved the different setting, culture, and POV that is in this book. It’s not your typical romance and there is a lot more going on then their story. There is a journey for both of them in finding themselves and their way in everything. It’s a book that you want to take your time and read. The ending was good and it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it does stand alone.
Leila is very interesting and different. She doesn’t belong there, but her heart says otherwise. I loved the internal fight she had while trying to find her place and herself. She will pull at your heart and have you cheering her on.
Prince Emre is not like his family. He was very different and needed to find his true self too. I loved how understood things and tried to keep the peace between everyone. He will have your attention from the start and you will love him in the end.
Guest review contributed by The Sassy Book Lover. This blogger is a sassy, book-loving southern belle. She posts reviews mainly but also about her own writing journey and encourages readers to be modern-day bluestockings.