I have never been a fan of historical romance, perhaps because most of my experience with them has been of the insipid, cheesy variety. Mistress of Mogador is not that. No ridiculous fragile women seeking validation from some musclebound man, poisoned by testosterone; no need to be saved by such a man, and no absurd, quixotic ruminations about love in the vein of puerile cupidity. No, the females of Mistress of Mogador carry the modern I’m-a-Nasty-Woman sensibility, in the most attractive and honorable ways. The characters here are also sufficiently flawed to burst from the page into personhood in the reader’s mind.
The command of language displayed by T.T. Thomas is delicious. In comparison to most other works in the genre, it’s the difference between a hamburger and a lamb steak; between rot-gut whiskey and fine wine. Purveyors of well-written literature would do well to absorb this tome, as it is filled with a classic sensibility and an obvious love for the beauty found in eloquent prose.
Throughout, you will also find little gems of narrative and dialogue. Like,
“Good god, what parliament of owlets has been nesting in your hair?” Hugh asked.
Or, in reference to Nora’s womanizing ways:
Nora gave her a look. “I gave Minerva a little dog when we parted.”
Alice nodded. “I see. What a relief! Well, it was the least one should do. One can’t help but wonder that you don’t breed them, so often must you be in pursuit of a suitable going-away gift.”
Witty repartee aside, there are narrative jewels as well, such as:
“The desert gave no answers, even to a woman who prayed. Even to a woman who wept. It asked only questions a woman in love could not answer.”
Perhaps this could be considered a sort of synoptic passage, for the story is every bit about that.
Mistress of Mogador is a banquet of words, harkening back to literary titans of old. I daresay they have nothing on Thomas. She goes toe-to-toe in impressive fashion. Well worth the read.