A Prize Beyond Jewels
Lately, my tastes have tended toward historicals, gothics, and romantic suspense. So, for contemporary month, I challenged myself to find a contemporary in my Wall o’ Books that was a romance rather than a mystery. At some point, I’d been fascinated by the fact that Carole Mortimer had published several gazillion books with Harlequin, so I had a few of her Presents titles lying around. I opted to read her 2014 release, A Prize Beyond Jewels.
Though book 2 in a trilogy, this one stands alone just fine. The premise of the story involves the D’Angelo brothers – owners of the three Archangel galleries, prestigious art display and auction houses. The brothers apparently take turns running the galleries in London, Paris and New York because…I don’t know….who needs realism and practicality when you’re reading a Harlequin Presents?
At any rate, Raphael D’Angelo, known as the playboy among the three brothers, is in charge of setting up the exhibition of Dimitri Palitov’s famed jewelry collection. At the outset, he is informed that he will be working with Palitov’s daughter Nina, whom he assumes to be middle-aged and frumpy. When Nina turns out to be a gorgeous, smart woman in her 20s, Rafe starts taking a little more interest.
The reclusive Palitov and his prickly daughter make Rafe’s life difficult, but there’s just something about Nina that gets under his skin. The chemistry between these two characters wasn’t what I would call magical, but I could tell that the author has written many a romance before, so there weren’t too many missteps either. Rafe can be a touch arrogant, but nowhere near the stereotypical overbearing Harlequin Presents hero. Given Nina’s upbringing, I could understand some of her reserve and reluctance where Rafe was concerned. After all, her father is domineering, even to the point of insisting that his adult daughter live in his building and only pursue a career working with him.
When Rafe and Nina do get together, I had hope for them. However, there’s a bit too much of the “Now we’re on, now we’re off” stuff going on and that tends to be one of my pet peeves in romance. I can understand needing to work through issues or hitting a rough patch, but this conflict at times fell flat with me because there was so much that that characters could have solved fairly quickly if they would actually talk to each other.
Even with that drawn out conflict toward the end of the book, I did still end up enjoying A Prize Beyond Jewels. However, the Palitovs’ deep dark secret takes so long to be revealed that it felt like a big “So what?” by the time we got to it and while I did like the book while I was in it, it was a somewhat forgettable read.