Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pleasures of the Forbidden Valley- Diana Mercury

Pleasures of the Forbidden Valley
Diana Mercury
Avon, Mar 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061450952

Completing her postgraduate work in cultural anthropology, Diandra takes a breather to wander the Himalayas seeking her “Shangri-la”, the legendary Lost Valley. From remote village to even more isolated villages she asks the locals, but no one offers her the slightest clue. About to give up on her obsession for now, Diandra is euphoric when she meets Hama, who claims he comes from the fabled forbidden Lost Valley. He is heading home and has agreed to guide her there.

However, he had a stipulation that she readily accepted. He will take her there only as his wife. Coveting the valley, she acquiesces to his terms. However, Diandra did not fully understand what she agreed to when she married Hama; she learns she is also the wife of his three brothers. She falls in love with one of the siblings Yeshi as she wonders how the PLEASURES OF THE LOST VALLEY could prove so ironically cruel.

This is an intriguing contemporary romance with a bit of whimsy. The key is the Lost Valley, which Diana Mercury vividly portrays through the eyes of the brothers whose differing personalities add depth to the view and the fresh naive perspective of the outsider. Although Diandra goes from intrepid explorer to suddenly frightened maiden (except in heat) disrupting the story line, readers will enjoy Ms. Mercury’s spin on Shangri-la.

Harriet Klausner

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