Amethyst is one definite keeper. I should have taken the reviews to heart and read only when I had time to finish, but I couldn't wait. I stayed up till 3 in the morning (and still some way to go) but had to go to work the next day. Still, it was very much worth it.
Amethyst (Amy) Goldsmith is a jewelry maker who survived The Fire, aided by the hero, Colin Chase, Earl of Greystone. They had met briefly five years ago in the King's coronation parade. Although there is an instant attraction between them, Colin can't pursue it, as he's already betrothed to a highborn (albeit generously endowed) cold fish, Lady Priscilla Hobbs. He then tries all ways to get Amy off his hands as she's too distracting for his resolve to leave her alone. She, on the other hand, has other ideas and thinks of one excuse after another to put off her departure. Thus started the Earl's downfall (though he thoroughly enjoys it) as he finds himself irrevocably drawn to Amy's charms, warmth and beauty.
The story is interspersed with fascinating historical snippets by a deft hand that interest buffs like me. Lauren Royal really knows her craft. Her research was thorough and I was totally immersed in the Restoration period; transported back in time to the tragedy of the great fire, the cultures and elaborate dress of its people. Of course, what made the book so memorable were all the main and equally enthralling supporting cast. Little Mary was a particular favorite.
The characters were all well defined. I couldn't agree more that the amazing chemistry between Amy and Colin was a joy to watch - they were practically soul mates (except towards the end, when they were not forthcoming with each other). There were also generous doses of sparkling wit, humor and sensual scenes throughout the book, not forgetting the oneness you feel with the cast. Royal doesn't read like a debut writer at all. If this work is anything to go by, I predict bigger and better things for this bright new star. I'm off to look for the sequel starring Jason, Colin's elder brother. Thank you so much, Lauren.