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?
Hiya, I’m not mad about Sheikh romances, but that may be because I studied Arabic at university and spent quite a bit of time in the Middle East – can’t quite suspend my disbelief enough!
Yeah, baby! Oded Fehr, Omar Sharif! How about Sean Connery in THE WIND AND THE LION. Oo-la-la!! He was so good in that movie. How about the desert men in HIDALGO? That movie combines horse racing and sheiks and cowboys, oh my!
There is something about the luxury of an oasis, being surrounded by desert, having access to crystal clear water to soothe heated skin, having to rely on a man who becomes master of all you know and possess. Youza! One who also provides for you, clothes you in fine linens and jewelry. More importantly, raises the desert temperatures at night! (sigh)
Hi, Lucy! So you’re stopped by the reality. I understand that, I really do! Reading Seven Pillars unfolds a completely alien and harsh world and while Lawrence’s view is romantic in some respects, it’s not a romantic place. Sheikh romances are very far removed from those realities, that’s for sure. 🙂
Ah, Kathy, a fellow aficionado! Yes, how could I forget Sean in that movie!!!?? Gorgeous setting, and Candice Bergen is fabulous too. Oh, I think we need sheikh night on my big screen!! (We still need Girls Night, LOL.)
You’ve stated it perfectly. That is the fantasy of the stories. And taming that man? Oh my, icing on the cake. (But no, I wouldn’t want to be swept into that world for nothing! Yikes!)
Girl, you need to read many more Presents, and then you need to try to write one. 🙂
I’ve not read any Presents sheikh romances, but a good friend of mine, Kristi Gold, wrote some wonderful Desire shiekh romances. In most cases, the sheikh had been transplanted to the US and that toned down the uber-Alpha-ness. They were Alpha heroes, make no mistake. But the US setting kept them from being overbearing.
This means nothing in the global scheme of things, but Omar Sharif and I share the same birthday (but he’s 19 years older). 😉
Oh yeah — sheikh night on the big screen TV!
I must admit though I haven’t read one for a while – the last one I read, probably a couple of years ago, had a harem in it – but then… Omar Sharif … Hmm, maybe I should give them another go!
I’m one of those who’s not a huge fan of Sheikh romances, though I understand they’re fairly popular (wildly, maybe?).
Good luck with your Presents career, Lynn! Can’t wait to have you autograph a book for me. 🙂
I’ve never gotten the sheikh thing. I’ve read a few, namely LJ’s, and he was a super progressive sheikh, but its hard for me to put aside the reality. Maybe in a historical setting, a la Bertrice Small, but not a modern romance.
That said, I hear they’re one of the biggest sellers, so I’m in the minority.
Thanks, Lynn. I’ve got ideas drumming in the back of my head. Not sure I can pull off a contemporary though.
You know, Valentino played in some sheik films in the silent era, THE SON OF THE SHEIK.
Oh! THE SHEIK, 1921 and THE SON OF THE SHEIK, 1926.
Marilyn, I understand what you mean about toning down the uber alpha. Though I like it. In fact, Lucy Monroe just had a GREAT sheikh romance. Can’t remember the title, but it was something about being the sheikh’s secretary mistress. And Jane Porter writes great ones too.
Lucy, try that Lucy Monroe I just mentioned! It was great and it was recent, like July or something. I just read a Chantelle Shaw that was great too, but her hero was definitely more of the uber-alpha type.
Hi, Carol!!! Thanks for the congrats, btw. I thought you were out of town, so I was hoping you’d pop over here eventually. I’m so thrilled to be a Presents author now. It’s such a dream come true!
And yes, sheikhs are amazingly popular!
SP, I’m recommending that Lucy Monroe to you too. It was great, and he was alpha, but not so much so you wanted to wring his neck. Loved it.
Kathy, of course Valentino is like the ultra sheikh! 🙂
Okay, I am a little late chiming in. I don’t have much to say because I have never read a Sheikh romance. I just received Sandra Marton’s two new ones in the mail, so I will probably try those first. I have yet to read one of her books and I hear she is very good.
Enjoy the sheikh books, Barbara! I have those on my list too. And if you can hunt down some Jane Porter sheikhs, I think you might enjoy them. 🙂
I loved Jane Porter’s The Sheikh’s Chosen Queen. Sandra Marton’s The Sheikh’s Defiant Bride was wonderful too. Of course, you’ve gotta love Hidalgo. I visited the mustang ranch near Hot Springs, South Dakota where the beginning of the movie was filmed. The mustang that he rode was raised there. It’s a great place to visit. The Lakota Sioux have their ceremonial sun dances on this ranch.
Well, I have trouble with them on a different level. I have Arab friends, male and female, and I really hate to say it, but most sheikh romances are racist stereotypes. Everyone would scream to high heaven if African-Americans were portrayed as stereotypes, but for some reason it’s ok with Arabs.
Wow, who knew the sheikh topic would get so many comments?!
Hi, Patricia, I love that Jane Porter too. 🙂
Terry, I’m sorry you feel that way. I understand your point, but I also wonder if we couldn’t make the same argument for Greek tycoons and hot-headed Italian and Spanish heroes. Penny Jordan just wrote a Presents with an Indian hero. I don’t know that culture well, but I sure did think Jay was sexy. I don’t think that reading or writing these stories mean we think that people are really the way they are in the books.
But you are talking to the girl who wrote an entire master’s thesis about the masculinity of language and how it, by definition, excludes the female and makes her inferior. So I’m with you in one sense, I truly am. But I also know who I am and how I feel about things, so I’m comfortable with that.
Thanks for commenting, Terry! You always have such thought provoking things to say. 🙂