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Book of Seven Delights    by Betina Kahn order for
Book of Seven Delights
by Betina Kahn
Order:  USA  Can
Jove, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Towards the end of the Victorian era, modern thinking women were breaking away from the strictures of society in hopes of leaving their mark. One such is librarian Abigail Merchant, whose own mother abandoned love in pursuit of the freedom to forge her own path. Before her death, she urges Abigail to set aside her chosen field (research librarian) and go out and taste the excitement that is life. Abigail, however, is determined to prove to herself, to her father (who all but abandoned her and her mother) and to the staid all-male research society, that a woman can be just as good a researcher as a man. She does eventually receive an invitation to work at the British Museum, but is dismayed and angry when she's relegated to the basements cataloguing old scrolls and texts.

There she stumbles across the notes and maps of Professor T. Thaddeus Chilton and his theory that remnants of the Great Library of Alexandria lie buried beneath the deserts of Morocco. Armed with Chilton's coded notes, a small inheritance from her mother's estate, and stubborn determination, Abigail sets sail for Casablanca to prove Chilton right. During the voyage, she crosses paths with ex-French Legionnaire, Apollo Smith, who is also on his way to Casablanca to take care of 'family business'. The brash adventurer warns Abigail that Morocco is no place for a librarian, but soon learns that her stubbornness equals his own. So does her ill fortune, when she falls under the spell of Apollo's greedy uncle, Ferdinand LeCroix. After various near miss confrontations with thugs sent by LeCroix to steal what he believes are treasure maps, Abigail finally realizes that she needs Apollo to help her find the lost library - and to help her experience life and love.

In The Book of Seven Delights, Betina Krahn once again demonstrates her skill at bringing a bygone era to life. Babe-in-the-woods Abigail is a delight as she evolves from fussy librarian to gun slinging adventuress. Apollo's characterization could have been a bit more well-rounded, nor was his feud with LeCroix fully explained. However, this action-packed romantic adventure delivers plenty of hair-raising escapes and exotic locales. Krahn also puts an interesting and amusing spin on one particular treasure hidden away in the lost library.

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