Friday, 30 December 2011

The Sheik (Hull) 411

It's been a while, for which apologies. Along with apologies for the fact that most of the last posts on this blog have started in this way. I was so tired in November and December and my brain was so full up with other things that I didn't manage to read anything terribly literary (highlight was a reread of the Little House books!), and certainly not attack my Virago TBR pile. I've still got a way to go with my challenge to read all of the VMCs so I will certainly need some discipline to both read and write about them.

But here I am with my latest VMC acquisiton. Over at the wonderful site Library Thing there are community groups, and theLinkre is one devoted to Virago Modern Classics. I'm sure I must have mentioned this before as several members have kindly sent me VMCs in the past. Each year, there is a Virago Secret Santa and this year I joined in for the first time. Julie was my santee, and I bought her two Virago Travellers as well as a Storm Jameson VMC. My secret santa was Mary, all the way from Tennesse, and she chose a book from my wishlist - The sheik - by Edith M Hull. It had been on my wishlist for so long that I can't remember quite why I added it but I am glad that I did as it was a most enjoyable read.

Described on the back cover as "one of the Virago's trio of turn of the century erotic best-sellers", it was certainly a bit of a racy read. But not perhaps in the way that one is used to with books these days - there is sex, but it is much more implicit than explicit, certainly in the details anyway.

It tells the story of Diana Mayo, a boyish girl who embarks on a tour of the desert. She has never had any sort of relationship before, never even been kissed, when she is kidnapped by a Sheik, who spotted her a few days previously and forces her into bed with him. She is appalled and holds the Sheik in great contempt, until perhaps inevitably she falls in love with him. Of course the Sheik has announced earlier on that he gets easily bored by women in love with him, and one of the reasons that he likes Diana so much is because she isn't in love with him. But once she's fallen in love with him, she can only hope that he will do the same.

What I found most interesting of all was finding out that Hull was a farmer's wife who had never been near a desert at all. I suppose it was a bit obvious as the settings were never terribly detailed but I was impressed that she imagined so much.

It's just been published once, with a modern green cover, although my copy was actually a print on demand issue of this. Thank you very much again to Mary for sending this to me.