Desert Isle Keeper

As You Desire (#54 on our Top 100 Romances List)

Connie Brockway

An AAR Top 100 Romance

originally published on March 11, 1998

When Harry Met Dizzy. Only better. My first Connie Brockway, and thank goodness, I have her others in my stockpile. This is a terrific book!

Lovely Desdemona Carlisle is a young Englishwoman living with her grandfather in Victorian Egypt. Desdemona was a child prodigy, brilliant, reading twelve languages, and a fabricator of romantic illusions. And, why not? Her parents dragged her all over the world, put her on display, and effectively deprived her of the time all little girls need to spin their daydreams. Dizzy’s looking for a hero, the man of her fantasies (and mine!) to carry her away on his destrier back to England, and love her for herself alone and not for her accomplishments.

Harry Braxton, a rogue living in disgrace and shame after having been sent down from Oxford, has abandoned England forever to carve a very successful life for himself in discovering and selling Egyptian antiquities. Harry has two monumental secrets, he loves Dizzy, and he cannot read. Harry is dyslexic in a time when the problem was not well understood by physicians, let alone educators or even one’s own family. I love that Brockway did this, because it makes Harry an immediately sympathetic and approachable hero. And, what a hero! Harry is brilliant, charming, loyal, dedicated, funny, and sad. Oh, did I forget incredibly handsome as well? Despite his “handicap” Harry has thrived in Egypt, but is missing the one thing that would make his life complete. Dizzy. He won’t tell her of his “affliction” however, for fear she will find him disgusting, and abandon him as has his family and the rest of the world.

Together, Harry and Dizzy are an utterly charming pair, complimenting each other beautifully. They are “just” friends, each trying ignore that the other wants so much more. When Harry fears his cousin will succeed in stealing Dizzy from him, he has no alternative but to bind her to him any way he can. All the preceding sexual tension pays off in a very tender consummation that is as loving as it is sensuous.

Throw in fabulous secondary characters, the color and beauty of 19th Century Egypt, plenty of twisting and turning action, dry yet scintillating humor, and you have an Egyptian treasure right in the palms(!) of your own hands. Marta, Cal, Blake, Magi, and Maurice are the most wonderful bunch of second bananas I’ve ever read. Nobody’s stereotypical, the humor and emotions are genuine, and you sort of root for everybody to come out a winner, except for the bad guy, who justifiably gets it in the end.

I think you’ll remember Harry and Dizzy for a long, long time.

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Book Details

Reviewer :      Marianne Stillings

Grade :     A

Sensuality :      Warm

Book Type :      |

Review Tags :     

Recent Comments


  1. Blackjack
    Blackjack November 10, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Still one of the most whimsical, sexy and sweet romances of all time. I just recently reread this and it was as good now as it was when it first came out. It’s also one of the best unrequited love stories I’ve read. I completely understood Desdemona’s smarting at Harry’s rejection of her, but I also understood why Harry felt he had to reject her. Harry & Desdemona also both have absurdly mad skills that are so fun to read. Harry’s “you are my country” speech to Dizzy is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever read. Silly man for ever doubting his Desdemona’s love or ability to see past his secret flaw.

  2. Lynda X November 11, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    You know, I really wasn’t in love with this book because I thought Harry was too reluctant a pursuer. I didn’t like the anxiety of Dizzy not feeling loved by Harry–regardless of his reasoning–for so much of the book. If you prefer the trope of the man really wanting and pursing the heroine, then this book, as charming as it is, might not be for you. I rated it a C.

  3. Gigi November 11, 2017 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    My obsession with unrequited love trope began with this book. My favorite Brockway and one of my favorite romances.

    • Sarah Adiron Jones November 13, 2017 at 7:28 am - Reply

      I haven’t read this one, but this comment just sold me on it! I adore unrequited love romance!

      • Gigi November 13, 2017 at 9:55 pm - Reply

        Oh you are in for such a treat! It’s an amazing book.

  4. June November 12, 2017 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Agree, the “you are my country” is meltingly romantic. I also enjoyed Harry’s cousin Blake. He features in a very funny scene of wooing and broken pottery.

  5. Keira Soleore
    Keira Soleore November 12, 2017 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    I love, love, love this book and “You’re my country” is one of the most romantic speeches of all time. Connie Brockway wrote some really memorable books.

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