Grade : D

I love second chance at love stories and I wish that publishers would do more of them. They offer the reader a chance to see couples work through conflict and come out stronger and more united than ever. Gemstone had some promising elements: A rich boy married a poor girl but the marriage was broken up by his snobbish mother. Poor girl comes back, successful and self-assured to the man who still loves her. But this gemstone lacked sparkle.

Sara McCray had married Jeff Parker. She was the daughter of midwestern farmers while he was San Francisco Old Money. He loved her, she loved him but his socially conscious mother treated her with icy contempt. Although Jeff defended her, Sara was so very uncomfortable that the marriage broke up. She left, went to New York, and carved out a successful career for herself as a jewelry designer. Now she is rich, famous, and much more self assured.

When Sara was married to Jeff, Alex and Diane Owens had been her friends. The story begins when she reads of their deaths in an accident and goes to San Francisco to attend the funeral. Of course she runs into Jeff and it is soon apparent that their feelings for each other are as strong as ever. His dragon-mother is dead as well.

Jeff proposes that they marry again. It seems as though Alex and Diane had a baby daughter whom Jeff wants to adopt, and it would be easier if he were married. Sara is filled with doubts. She has fallen in love with the baby at first glance, but she has a professional life of her own. Yet she still loves Jeff. But Jeff has not said he still loves her. What to do?

Of course we all know what will happen, but Gemstone spends a long time getting us to the happy ending, with not enough happening to make the trip memorable. Sara broods and stews, Jeff broods and stews. There is a classic moment when he asks her what is wrong and she says if he loved her he ought to know. Well, Sara, all I can say is if you would talk a bit, the man would know what is wrong with you. All this brooding and stewing is described in quite lavish purple prose of the type that really draws attention to itself.

My main problem with Gemstone was that it was totally driven by the character's inner problems, with practically no outer action at all, and the problems did not seem so overpowering considering that the main problem in Jeff and Sara's relationship had been his mother and she was dead. All during this book, I got the feeling that all Sara wanted was for Jeff to say "I love you.." When he does, she melts into a puddle of goo and all is fine and dandy. If Jeff's mother had been alive, and Sara had had to face her, this would have been a book with something of interest; as it was, it seemed like much ado about nothing.

Fans of books where the conflict is totally internal may like this book much more that I did, but I want something external to occur as well. I can only take so much brooding and internal monologues and then I long for the Navy SEALS to come in and the action to begin.

Reviewed by Ellen Micheletti
Grade : D

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : December 20, 2001

Publication Date: 2001

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