The Diamond Secret
Normally I love the January TBR Challenge because I tend to collect category novels like crazy. At their best, the storytelling is usually streamlined and top notch. This month was a little tricky for me. Unwilling to settle for a so-so read, I DNF-d a couple of Harlequin Intrigues before unearthing The Diamond Secret , a 2006 release from Ruth Wind(aka Barbara Samuel.) I figured a novel from a tried and true author whose work I’ve loved in the past wouldn’t fail me, and I was right. This suspenseful caper centered around a fabulous jewel heist ended up being a thrilling read, even with a couple weak spots.
This novel reminded me all over again why I miss the Silhouette Bombshell line. I know the line had its detractors, but I was instantly drawn to it by the promise of strong, heroine-driven stories. If you love action movies, the best books in this line are pretty much the book equivalent.
Our heroine in this case is gemologist Sylvie Montague. Sylvie has been hired by authorities in Glasgow to assess some previously stolen jewels. Upon arrival in Scotland, Sylvie plans to visit some family (she is the daughter of an American father and Scottish-French mother) before getting to work. However, her plans change when she meets a very sexy stranger – and finds herself in possession of a legendary stolen diamond. It’s obvious early on that plenty of folks want to get their hands on the gem and so the chase is on.
Sylvie finds herself travelling Scotland, hoping no one notices she has the diamond and trying to figure out what in the world is going on. Added into the mix are interesting bits of diamond lore, a historical curse on the diamond, and some gorgeous but dangerous men. The focus in this story is definitely on Sylvie and the diamond, but we do get bits of a love triangle woven through the plot. Will Sylvie fall for the mysterious tall dark stranger she met on the plane, or is she destined to wind up with the much older man she’s adored for almost as long as she can remember?
In some ways, The Diamond Secret is larger than life, so you definitely have to be in the mood for an over the top story. After all, we are talking about a stolen jewels caper with glamorous European settings, fancy cars and a heroine who also happens to be the daughter of a famous race car driver. Fantastic adventure, but hardly relatable. However, I had so much fun reading that I didn’t particularly care.
My one major quibble with the story came from the quest for the diamond itself. Given the description of the stone, I could certainly get why people would want something so legendary and valuable. However, the characters’ motivations often seemed a bit vague and the job which drew Sylvie to Scotland in the first place made less and less sense the more I thought about it.
Even so, I had a grand time reading Sylvie’s adventures. And just like a good action movie, this one has at least one big car chase.