The setting is the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th Century. The hero, Winslow Ertegun, is half-Turkish, half-British, and a spy for the Sultan sent to find out why the new railroad crossing the country is taking so long to complete and is costing such huge sums of money, as well. The heroine, Hope Mountcastle, is on the run from her stuffy aunt's house in York, England, hoping to join her father on his current project in the wilds of Eastern Turkey. She wants nothing less than freedom from her corset and her prim and proper life. Her father has been hired by the Germans to build a portion of a railroad across the Ottoman Empire, but he's been murdered before Hope can reach him.
Unaware her father is dead, Hope must resort to subterfuge to get to the railroad camp. Dressed as a mute Turkish boy, she's the caravan's cook's helper. Her disguise works only so long, however, and Winslow must marry her in a Muslim ceremony to preserve her reputation and chastity, promising her the ruse will last only until he delivers her to her father at the railroad camp.
All is far from well at the camp, and Hope and Win fall in love, fight for their lives, find Hope's father's killer, and return to Constantinople so Win can report the real status of what's happened with the railroad. The world is on the brink of war, and politics have become a precarious way of life for a spy. Win fears for Hope in his anti-Western world, and sends her home to her aunt, promising to divorce her according to Muslim practices so she can get on with her life. Only Hope doesn't want a divorce, but she doesn't want to add herself as another burden in Win's life, either.
The ending is happy, as is the norm for a romance, and blissfully so. I still sigh over it whenever I read it, and I'm quite the cynic. A romance with murder, sensuality, politics, and a Muslim and Christian falling in love isn't your normal, everyday book, and I hope some of you will like it. Maybe even love it, as I do.
BTW, the cover art was done by Jessie Gemmer. Email me for contact information.