Lauren Royal’s Jewel Trilogy is hands down one of my favorite romantic book series’ that I have read to date. (See my review of book one, Amethyst) The only other series that can come close in my eyes is Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. Both have really interesting hero/heroines that aren’t weak-minded and make the series worth continuing. Not only that, but the plots are creative and different! Enjoying the creativity that the Jewel Trilogy offers, I delved right into Emerald, book two of the trilogy!
A continuation of the tale of the Chase family of England in the 1660’s, Emerald details the life of Jason Chase, the Marquess of Cainewood. On a quest to bring Geoffrey Gothard, a noted murderer to justice. Jason searches the countryside, battles with Gothard, who escapes, inadvertently injures an innocent man, and finally passes out due to wounds sustained in the battle. In Scotland, Caithren Leslie has a problem. She must marry within the year in order to claim her estate, or else it will revert to her brother Adam, who has not been present for many years. Caithren, dressed as a man, travels to find her brother and bring him back to sign away the rights to the estate, only to run into Jason on his quest to find Gothard. Jason soon discovers that this “lad” is actually a lassie, and he surmises that she is the famed Scottish bounty hunter Emerald MacCallum, looking for Gothard. Although at first Caithren wants to be rid of this “commoner” (Jason does not tell her he is of noble birth), she soon realizes that she is falling for him. Jason, too, becomes enamored with this mysterious woman, and does everything in his power to not let her get away. Will they unite? Will either of them be able to capture Gothard?
I enjoyed the fact that the plot was not essentially driven by events that ultimately made Jason and Caithren get together. The sub-plots of Caithren searching for her brother and Jason searching for Gothard created depth in a genre that I haven’t typically associated depth with. Most romances that I’ve read are uni-dimensional, while with Royal’s work we see two individuals whose feelings change over time in response to external events.
As I stated earlier, our hero/heroine combination are anything but weak-minded. Jason is a moral paragon, constantly trying to do right by those around him and see that justice is served to those who attempt to do wrong to those he cares about. His entire journey is started because Gothard nearly killed a little girl who lives in the village that is under his care. A five-year-old girl who is no relation to him still is worthy enough in his eyes to risk his own life in the pursuit of justice for her. Caithren, on the other hand, is willfully independent and refuses to be backed into a corner by her father’s will. She will not see her beloved land fall to her irresponsible rolling stone of a brother. She sets out on her own journey to make sure that if the land cannot be hers without marriage, it falls to her cousin, who is equally deserving of it. Royal’s creation of all of these characters is a testament to her creative mind, and is also a testament to the fact that romance novels can have just as much depth as any other genre out there. I highly suggest that if you’re into historical fiction you give this a try, as the history alone is a blast to read, and the dash of romance makes it that much more fun.
4 out of 5 stars
This is my twenty-third completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
Emerald by Lauren Royal
Novelty Books (2012)
eBook: 792 pages