I love Deanna Raybourn. Reading one of her books is always a pleasure. Her Lady Julia books are wonderful. Her stand-alone set in Kenya, A Spear of Summer Grass, was a delight.
And this one is, at 10%, well on its way to also being fabulous. Exotic setting, beautiful, adventurous heroine, handsome, mysterious hero - who may be dead (but probably not). The scent of spice and jasmine. Aviatrix (and why are words that are feminizied with an -ix on the end so cool?).
A couple of quotes:
“Because it’s time you stopped running, Evie. For you, Gabriel Starke is past and present, and somewhere, I don’t know how, perhaps your future, as well. You’ll never be free of him if you don’t go and find out.” “Go?” He sighed. “Woman, you try my patience. To Damascus. You must go to Damascus and find him if he’s there.”
"The approach to the city was not the finest. For that we ought to have come from Baghdad, crossing the desert to find Damascus shimmering in its oasis with the snowy bulk of Mount Hermon looming up behind. But rolling through the orchards of olive and lemon, pomegranate and orange, we saw Damascus standing on the plain, a gleaming, jewelled city of white in a lush green setting. It smelled, as all ancient cities do, of stone and smoke and donkey and spices, but over it all hung the perfume of the flowers that spilled from private courtyards and public gardens. Sewage ran in the streets, yet to me it would always be the city of jasmine, the air thick with the fragrance of crushed blossom."