THE GENTLEMAN JEWEL THIEF
(The Hope Diamond Trilogy #1)
by Jessica Peterson
Berkley (Sensation), July 2014
e-book/Paperback 336 pages
E-Galley provided by publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own unless otherwise noted.
Heir to an impressive title and fortune, Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, is among the most disreputable rakes in England. Desperately bored by dull heiresses and tedious soirees, he seeks new excitement – with a dangerous scheme to steal the world’s most legendary gemstone from its owner, Thomas Hope. To his surprise, however, it’s not the robbery that sets his blood burning but the alluring lady from whom he pilfers the gem.
A string of bad luck has left the fate of Lady Violet Rutledge’s estate entirely in Hope’s scheming hands. So when his prized jewel disappears from around her neck, she has no choice but to track down the villain responsible for the theft. Only Harclay has his sighs set on taking more from her than the necklace – and she’s tempted to surrender anything he desires…
Now, caught in a thrilling game of secrecy and seduction, Violet must find a way to protect her fortune – and her heart – before she loses both forever…
RELEASES TOMORROW, JULY 1!!!
Wow! I found myself loving this book beaucoup after the first few pages. It’s a brilliant debut. With capers reminiscent of a Three Musketeers movie, magnetic attraction, hot hook ups and some life lessons handed down to the characters, this tale captured my interest and was very, shall we say, stimulating. I found Peterson’s writing intelligent, appropriately descriptive, and passionate. Some of the love scenes are beautifully written. Some things, like wine stained lips, were weirdly described as sexy, when I have noticed mine to be stained this way it is far from that..
There was one action scene on a boat I had difficulty understanding, but I generally find fights and battles hard to picture when I read them.
There may be a tiny paranormal element in the way the diamond is described as having a pull, and in the way the heroine can feel the Earl enter a room.
I loved the author’s note at the end discussing the historical realities of the diamond in question, the French Bleu which was later recut into a more standard shape as the famous Hope Diamond which Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor; big news when I was a kid. This 50 carat stone makes Kim and Kanye’s ring seem small.
I thought the characters were interesting. I liked Violet, but found her behaviors, interior monologues and actions incongruous. There’s a line when Harclay meets Violet that totally surprises me and gives her character new perspective,. But, I was unsure whether it was a truth about her character or just how she liked to see herself.
Harclay is really wealthy, and it is hard to comprehend just why he wants to steal the diamond in the first place. The dialogue is witty and the earl is a real charmer. The entire plot about the item going missing is on the edge of too far fetched, but in the way of romance novels, you won’t really care.
One thing that bugged me was the Earl’s treatmenet of his sister, a dowager duchess. As a widow of higher rank tan Harclay, she would have been much less under his thumb.
But, I really loved this book, although not its cover. I highly recommend it to people who like steamy and fast paced, fantastic Regency romance! Sign me up for the second in the series!