Fast-paced Sheik blurs absurdities

Orphaned as an infant, Diana Mayo was brought up by a much older brother, who treated her as if she were a boy.

When she reaches adulthood and financial independence, the fearless and foolhardy Diana goes for a month  into the North African desert accompanied only by native camel drivers and servants.

She is captured by the eponymous Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan. He rapes her, subdues her, and commands her obedience.

Diana escapes.

Ahmed brings her back by force.

In her exhaustion, Diana realizes she loves Ahmed for his strength, brutality, and animality.  But horrors! Ahmed’s a different race and color.

Meanwhile, Ahmed’s jealousy of his long-time friend  Raoul de Saint Hubert  makes the Sheik  realize he loves Diana.

Raoul tells Diana that Ahmed is not an Arab at all, but half English, half Spanish. The news assures Diana she can live happily with her Sheik.  Apparently being raped is OK as long as the rapist is a European.

This  is ridiculous stuff, but author Ethel M. Hull keeps the story moving so you don’t realize how absurd it is until you’re read so much of the book that you might as well finish.

The Sheik: A Novel
by Ethel M. Hull
1921 bestseller #6
Project Gutenberg Ebook #7031 
My grade: C
© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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