Tuesday 5 June 2012

Review - Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster / Touchstone for a pre-publication e-copy to read and review.

Jasmine Nights: A Novel
Published June 5th 2012 by Touchstone

My Review

Brought up in Tiger Bay with a domineering Turkish father, Saba Tarcan uses her exceptional skill as a singer to escape the narrow confines of home. Drafted into ENSA, the wartime entertainment troop, Saba becomes part of a group of singers sent out to the Middle East to entertain the troops stationed out there.

Dom Benson is a young fighter pilot, who suffers severe injuries in a wartime incident, he never forgets the beautiful young singer who added a touch of magic to his convalescence. Against all adversity, he is determined to get back to flying his beloved aeroplanes, and his strength of character shines throughout the story.

Overall, I thought that this was an entertaining love story / adventure story. The book gets off to an initial slow start, but once the action moves to the Middle East, the story really starts to build up. The added suspense of Saba’s involvement in undercover operations helps to make the action all the more interesting.

Julia Gregson has created a rich and dramatic story of wartime, the underlying theme of living life to its fullest is expertly explored.

I enjoyed it.

Julia Gregson has now written three novels:

East of the Sun
The Water Horse
Jasmine Nights

Jasmine NightsThe Water Horse    East of the Sun 


  1. In "Jasmine Nights," author Julia Gregson visits the era of World War 2 Britain and tells the story of Saba Tarcan, a young, gifted singer, and Dom Benson, an injured fighter pilot she meets while singing in a hospital ward. Their budding romance is stressed when Saba leaves home and joins a troupe that performs for British soldiers stationed in North Africa and the Middle East, and further strained when she is recruited to become an informant for the British Secret Service.

    The initial premise is very engaging - I liked Saba, sympathized with her longing for a career and applauded her realistic view of the very real choices she would have to make in terms of a career vs. marriage (given the era of the story - although a lot of singers back then were married). The atmosphere was beautifully detailed and the supporting characters funny and interesting, especially Arleta. Dom was also a sympathetic character and his concerns about flying again post-injury were well-drawn.

    The story didn't really take off, however, until almost halfway through the book, and I found the narrative a bit disjointed at times. Also, as other reviewers have mentioned, the love story was uneven. It started out sweet and tender, sort of hesitant, then abruptly transitioned into this grand passion. I found myself somewhat uninvolved with the two of them as a couple and eager to bypass those scenes and get back to the action.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing your thoughts on this book.


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