Desert Isle Keeper
A Dazzle of Diamonds
What I love about Liz Johnson’s work is the way her flow of words brings you along so effortlessly that suddenly you’re halfway through the book and not quite sure how you got there – but you know you enjoyed every second of the journey. A Dazzle of Diamonds is part of the author’s Georgia Coast Romance series, but you won’t need to read the previous books to enjoy this story. The novel brings readers a contemporary romance with a friends-to-lovers plot, intrigue and love from the past, and a spiritual lesson woven deftly throughout.
Event planner Penelope Jean Hunter is always eager to meet potential clients looking for a wedding venue. However, her latest initial client meeting comes as a shock. The enthusiastic bride-to-be arrives in the company of her fiancé who happens to be Penelope’s ex – the ex who left her at the altar three years earlier. In addition, it quickly becomes glaringly clear that the happy bride-to-be knows nothing about it. Penelope’s first reaction is to usher them both out the door, but she leans on her professionalism to get through her presentation. The couple has other venues to visit; they may not choose hers.
As soon as the meeting is completed, Penelope shares the nerve-wracking experience with her childhood friend, Tucker Westbrook, a man with whom she spends a part of every day. Tucker, a security specialist, faces his own problems. He is running for county sheriff, and his opponent has written a letter for the op-ed newspaper section claiming that Daniel Westbrook, Tucker’s Civil War ancestor, was a traitor to the Southern cause. In Savannah, Georgia, that accusation could lose Tucker the election. Because of the letter, a local matron threatens to cancel her event reservation at Penelope’s venue if Penelope continues to keep company with Tucker. Losing this client and the most prestigious event of the year could cost Penelope her job.
For Penelope, the way forward is clear. First, fix Tucker’s mess. Prove Daniel was not a traitor – which Penelope believes can be accomplished by finding the treasure of gold, jewels, and arms, the cargo Daniel allegedly stole. Second, although it irks her, make sure to seal the wedding deal with her ex and his bride. During the search for evidence to prove Daniel’s innocence, a diary written by Daniel’s daughter turns up, and as Penelope reads the trials Daniel faced during the war, the truth behind his actions is slowly revealed. Penelope does accept the wedding contract, and during subsequent conversations with the couple, she allows the assumption that she and Tucker are more than friends to stand. To her surprise, Tucker suggests that they pretend to date. He could use a date for campaign events, and going along with the idea means Penelope won’t have to correct the (incorrect) assumptions about them made by her ex and his bride-to-be. What follows is a delightful mix of historical intrigue, love stories both past and present, and truths revealed.
The author uses a storyline that places us firmly in the South and gives us a good feel for living in a city steeped in history, sweltering heat, and tradition. The characters are well-drawn and memorable, and their personalities, emotional trials, and faith remained with me for weeks after I finished reading. Throughout both past and present stories, the author threads a consistent spiritual theme – God has a plan for you; it may not be the plan you devised. The main characters all have encounters in life that show them that they must be open to God’s plan and never doubt that following His way will lead to the best path.
The Civil War love story of commitment and betrayal told within the contemporary friends-to-more journey light up the pages with humor and romance. Looking for a feel-good read that you won’t be able to put down? Pick up a copy of A Dazzle of Diamonds