I listened to Juliet Marillier's sequel to Wildwood Dancing and really quite liked it. Cybele's Secret features Paula (pronounced paola), the third of the five Transylvanian sisters featured in Wildwood Dancing, who is the scholar of the family. She accompanies her merchant father to Istanbul to do business there, particularly to acquire an ancient artifact known as Cybele's Gift. No one is sure exactly what it is, but there are several buyers including Duarte, the quite intersting Portugese ex-pirate. One of Paula's father's first tasks was to provide Paula with a bodyguard as the stakes of his interest in Cybele's Gift rise. Paula choses Stoyan, an apparently quite fine looking Bulgarian whose interest in protecting Paula quickly changes from duty to something more.
Paula was an interesting character. She repeatedly referred to herself as a scholar, and at seventeen this is a great aspiration. She also wanted to be a business woman and had to cope with being a woman in Istanbul which is truly a man's world. She is befriended by Irene who seems to have carved a niche for herself as a semi-independant (though married) woman who has a library and a life of her own. Paula was good mix of determination, resourcefulness, and bravery while at the same time being a bit too prudish for my liking. Along with the quest to find Cybele's gift, the supernatural came into play (continued from Wildwood Dancing) which spiced things up a bit. I have to say though, I had hoped the romance would heat up faster than it did. I mean, there was some good stuff in there and Paula having both the intellectual and wealthy Duarte and the protective Stoyan compete for her attention was fun. Still, I remember looking at my Ipod and thinking, if these two (I won't tell you which two!) don't get together in the next five minutes I'm gonna be irritated. And it turns out I was. Still, it was a fun listen.