While I always strive to embody the character of the female lead, if my book of choice sports one, through my Book Styles, historical fiction sometimes works better if I aim for "inspired-by" outfits instead. The fifth Mary Russell novel, O Jerusalem, by Laurie R. King falls into that category. Not only is Russell forced into disguise for pretty much the entire novel, but I also have very little concept of what a young Arab male in 1920s Jerusalem would actually wear. That winding introduction is my long-winded way of explaining that, while it's possible a still 20-year-old Russell in the present day might sport this outfit, this is not what I envision our Russell wearing at all.
The book is set in Jerusalem (in case that title was confusing to you) during the events of the first novel, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is Russell and Holmes' sojourn away from England, and they clearly weren't using the time to merely rest, relax and recoup. Since they need a break from the unknown threat back home, Mycroft decides to put them to use for Queen and Country. Russell chooses Jerusalem; she has a yearning to get in touch with her Jewish roots and see her people's homeland. Once they arrive they are entrusted to the care of two local agents, the Hazr brothers. The elder brother, Mahmoud, is taciturn and a well-loved scribe in the region while the younger brother, Ali, is flamboyant and volatile. Gradually they come to except their English burdens; Russell wins them both over with her skills with throwing knives and her loyalty. The quartet work together to thwart a threat to the post-World War I Middle Eastern peace negotiations.
Most of this outfit is very loosely inspired by traditional Middle Eastern fashion without any rhyme or reason. Just the soothing colors of sea, sky and sand all tossed together in something breezy, yet covered. I had to include some sandals, since Russell is cursed with a pair that she is finally allowed to give up in favor of her comfortable and trusted boots. A stunning Jerusalem ring, a dagger necklace, and an initialed bee necklace bring the appropriate amount of shine and shimmer. The dagger necklace for Russell's inherent talent with knives and the bee necklace for her initial and for the beekeeping monks that provide a valuable clue for Holmes. The "Sexy Red" polish is a nice pop for those exposed toes for when Russell goes out in her other disguise of sexy young arrival to the expat scene in Jerusalem. I do so love when she flusters Holmes with her femininity.
I often tell people that Ms. King captures the feel of place and time better than any other contemporary mystery writer and give them O Jerusalem as a prime example. This book will transport you.