I like to cover all my bases as a general rule, especially with an author who is new for me. That’s why I read Elizabeth Lowell’s Amber Beach before reading Jade Island. I wanted to get a feel for the Donovan clan, how they felt about each other and the world around them. In general, I was not disappointed. But just as you need to be interested in amber to enjoy Amber Beach, you have to be really interested in jade to get into this book. Fortunately for me, the interest was there. I’m a little obsessed with semi-precious stones – maybe it’s because I make jewelry, but this really appealed to me on that level. I learned about jade and amber in both books and now when I buy both these stones, I will feel like an expert. I also loved the sense of adventure of the book and how it ties in old to new, how something older or ancient has such a huge impact on the present. Who knew searching for jade or amber could be so exciting? Where do I sign up? I am glad it didn’t have as much boating talk as Amber Beach did, but boy do I have a craving for salmon now.
Jade Island is Kyle Donovan’s story. It’s believed that someone has stolen priceless jade artifacts from China. Kyle’s brother Archer (whom I personally have a crush on) believes it all goes back to the Tang family consortium. He asks Kyle to get close to Lianne Blakely, the illegitimate daughter of one of the Tangs. Lianne is a respected jade expert and the perfect entree into the Tang family. Lianne has her own problems though. She has never been acepted by the Tang’s and this has always hurt her. Her father, Johnny Tang, has also instructed her to get close to Kyle, though we don’t know the reason why until the book is more than half over. While Kyle and Lianne are getting to know each other, they discover that priceless jade is being removed from the Tang vault and replaced with inferior pieces. Since Lianne is one of the few people who go into the vault on a regular basis, she is a suspect. Eventually, Lianne is accused of stealing the jade and is taken into custody. If she and Kyle don’t find the real thief quickly, Lianne is sure to go to prison.
The course of true love doesn’t run smoothly and this case is no exception. The two are attracted to each other from the start but their tentative trust is broken when Lianne finds out what Kyle is up to. Lianne’s freedom is at stake and she is dependent upon a man with ulterior motives. It’s too late for Kyle though; he’s completely in love with Lianne and he will not let her go. He believes in her innocence and will do what he has to in order to find out the truth. While Lianne feels hurt and betrayed, she knows that Kyle will protect and help her, despite pushy older brothers and FBI agents dogging them every step of the way.
I did have a few problems with the book though. I had trouble making connections between certain things in the book. A sub-plot involving a U.S. millionaire and his suspicious jade burial suit never seemed to gel. I think you can only take subterfuge so far before it gets confusing, and I was confused. Then there were about 10 pages toward the end where my attention faded a bit. I felt a little lost, but I do not think it took away from my overall enjoyment of the book. . Also, it really bothered me that neither Kyle nor Lianne told each other they loved one another. I look for that, I wait for it – and for some reason when it doesn’t come, I get a little disappointed. I know we can assume it, but I really like to read it there, in black and white.
I did enjoy reading about this family and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. The Donovans are a fun bunch and a loyal group, too. Once they decide you’re o.k., they stay with you every step of the way. Hmm…I can think of the perfect woman for Archer too!