Scheherazade, Sheherazade, Shahrazad... whatever you call her, however you spell her name, she was an amazing woman. Yeah, I know, she wasn't real... but still. The heroine of the Arabian Nights. Smart, brave, and beautiful, she managed to do the impossible: help her husband, Shahrayar of Samarkand, learn to love again. And all by telling him bedtime stories.
Even though I haven't actually read the Arabian Nights stories (well, I've read a couple of them - Aladdin, Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves...), I still find her fascinating. One of my favourite books ever is called The Storyteller's Daughter, by Cameron Dokey, and it's about - you guessed it - Scheherazade. But it's different from other stories about her. This book has a fairy-tale quality to it, but with a uniquely 'Eastern' flavour. It tells the story not of the Arabian Nights, but of Scheherazade herself and her relationship with Shahrayar, how it started and how it grew until it blossomed into love. Shahrayar isn't portrayed as cruel or evil, as many people try to make him seem, but more as someone whose heart was broken to the point that he felt that he could never love any woman ever again - but of course he's proven wrong.
Mind you, I'm not usually one for romance - I like action and adventure (with lots of fantasy thrown in), but I also have a weakness for fairy tales and retellings of fairy tales. The Storyteller's Daughter has everything. Action, adventure, tales of wit and wonder, in a faraway land of silk and jewels and gossamer, and, of course, a handsome king and beautiful queen who fall in love.
It is, quite simply, fantastic.