I found this site last night and had to share: Sheikhs and Desert Love. This site specifically catalogues all romance novels featuring sheikhs, desert princes, etc.
Yes, yes, I know that the reality of the modern Middle East isn't all that appealing, and that desert chieftains aren't exactly Omar Sharif or Oded Fehr (pic) lookalikes in caftans. But I love sheikh romances. Always have since that first Harlequin Presents fix I got as a pre-teen. There are most certainly deeper mythological connotations to the dark desert prince/sheikh romances, and as an English major I could certainly go into boring and copious detail about the fantasy aspect–
But no, not happening. I just love these stories for the sheer exoticism of them, and I hope to write one of my own someday. I've read TE Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom twice — the reality of the desert is harsh, but the text is also romantic in its own way. Lawrence was certainly inspired by the life he found out there (and changed by it, no doubt).
So how do you feel about the sheikh romances? Total turn off? Or can you suspend disbelief enough to get lost in the world of camels, desert palaces, and golden dunes?