Over the weekend, I had the chance to sit down to read Mary Balogh’s A Precious Jewel. I’ve only recently become a fan of Ms. Balogh. I’ve found her books to be touching and historically pleasing.
For the most part, her heroes and heroines aren’t stunningly wonderful people. They’re flawed. Some are physically flawed in big ways, while others are mentally or emotionally scarred. I find the switch from the perfect hero with a brooding personality, or the perfect heroine with a spunky attitude wonderful.
Here’s the blurb:
A Precious Jewel
Dell Historical, ISBN 044024463
Sir Gerald Stapleton takes Priscilla Wentworth out of a brothel to be his mistress when he discovers that she has been abused. He does not understand quite what she has come to mean to him, though, until she leaves him one day to marry someone else—and then simply disappears beyond trace.
I think the best thing about this book, was that the heroine was a prostitute for several months before she meets the hero. Yes, there are the usual reasons for her becoming a woman of the night, but what she does about it and how she feels about herself make her unique in my mind.
Gerald, the hero, is also imperfect. He isn’t brilliant, he isn’t devastatingly handsome, and in the beginning, he isn’t even a good lover. He has very set views of how he wants his life to be, what place women have in his world, and doesn’t want to change any of it. But something about Priss (Priscilla) brings him out of his narrow-mindedness. Meanwhile, Priss has to come to grips with her place in Gerald’s life. She’s his mistress, not his love, not his wife.
This was definitely a character driven story. Gerald is so clueless, while Priss does everything she can to make his life pleasant. Sometimes I was irritated with her willingness to ignore her own needs in favor of his, but I understood her reasoning, so I couldn’t become too irate. The ending pleased me beyond measure.
If you’re looking for a thoughtful, heartwarming story with a hero who’s far from perfect, and a heroine who’s just trying to do the best she can with her life, then this book is for you. I’m giving Mary Balogh’s A Precious Jewel two thumbs up, and a scone for leaving me with a sense of peace and tranquility.
A Precious Jewel is the sequel to The Ideal Wife.