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Jasmine Nights    by Julia Gregson order for
Jasmine Nights
by Julia Gregson
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2012 (2012)
* *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Crowley

In this romantic World War II novel, Julia Gregson seduces readers with a love story which survives war and distance. Saba Tarcan's beautiful singing voice had made her the pride and joy of her family. But when the tragedies of World War II grow worse, Saba decides to use her singing talent to help the war effort. But Saba cannot imagine the danger and romance which awaits her as she travels from Wales to London, Africa, and the Middle East.

When Saba sings at a military hospital in London, she meets Dominic Benson, an English pilot severely injured in the war when his plane went down. Although Dom is just another face to Saba, Dom vows to never forget the beauty who awakened his heart in the midst of the worse physical pain he has ever endured. But Dom is not the only one to notice Saba. The ENSA (the Entertainments National Service Association) is impressed with Saba's innocent beauty and melodious voice. Against her parents' wishes, Saba joins the ENSA and leaves the United Kingdom for the unknown.

Before Saba leaves with ENSA, she receives a letter from Dom Benson pleading for her to accept an invitation to meet. Although Saba instantly loses her heart to the handsome pilot, a terrible misunderstanding causes her to leave the United Kingdom without saying goodbye to Dom. But Dom's feelings for Saba run too deep for him to accept her abrupt departure. When he recovers and rejoins the war, he and Saba comes face to face again. Although their love story resumes, Saba hides dangerous secrets.

When Saba finds herself performing in North Africa, she can hardly believe how far her singing has brought her from her tiny home in Wales. Although she has disappointed her family, she finds a new family among the other ENSA singers and especially with Dom. But when Saba's singing impresses ENSA, she is asked to undertake a dangerous mission as a spy. Not only must Saba risk her life, but also the trust of her newfound love with Dom.

Julia Gregson delights readers with her beautiful descriptions of far away lands. Saba Tarcan's devoted contribution to the war creates a strong, enchanting protagonist. Although the novel was beautifully descriptive, I felt there was more atmosphere than storyline. Saba and Dom spend very little time together. I felt Saba and Dom would have made a much stronger impact on the readers if their romance had been more deeply developed early in the novel. Jasmine Nights is still a beautiful story and Julia Gregson has a special way with words which makes her novel a pleasure to read.

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