on 9 March 2014
COMBINED REVIEW for THE READING CAFE 08 Mar 14
5 of out 5 for this reader folks!
I have to say, Shana Galen is moving up my list of fave "go to", "must read" historical romance authors. I read her Lord and Lady Spy Series a while back and fell in love with her writing style and her story telling. Well once again, she blew me away with her Jewels of the Ton Series. Each novel was jammed full of adventure, mystery, danger, intrigue, one hot couple finding their way to each other, horrific villains and a secondary cast of characters that rounded out the storyline perfectly. You DO need to read this series in order as one story melts into the next, and so you can enjoy the anticipation of the storyline for the next novel. Do not deprive yourself of that experience as Shana is incredible at building the next story for her readers!
So before I go into the reviews I will give you a bit of a back story that pertains to all three! Our leading ladies of each book are acting as courtesans (they are not truly courtesans but ladies just trying to make the best out of crummy circumstances), they are also nicknamed "The Diamonds" for their beauty, charm and mystery. They are intriguing, secretive and much coveted by many a Lord in the ton. Once down on their luck individually, these three beauties were given another chance at life by a loving Count and Countess (they totally rock ..lol), came together and became true friends. They look out for one another and make no apology for the way they live their lives now!
BOOK 1 - When you Give a Duke a Diamond
He had a perfectly orderly life...
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...
Until she came along...
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...
Juliette is out first "Diamond" and nicknamed the "Duchess of Dalliance". Extremely beautiful, she is desired by many. When she finds herself in a situation that crosses paths with the Duke of Pelham, little does she know her entire life is about to change. William, the Duke of Pelham, is a rigid, punctual and as stoic as it gets. In my opinion he has one huge pickle up his rear end. He is NEVER apologetic, he is sharp with his honesty, not caring for the emotions of others, and he lives his life without spontaneity and by a pocket watch. He believes the Dukedom excludes him from common rules.
When Juliette finds herself witness to the murder of the Duke's fiancée, she seeks Pelham out despite her dislike of the man to tell him of what she witnessed and to request protection (the murderer knows she saw him). At first he doesn't believe her. Then clues begin to point in the direction of Juliette's story. By then, Pelham has already had his structured world completely upended by this famous "courtesan". When Juliette discovers why Pelham is so rigid, she decides to knock his walls of armour down one by one and introduce a little bit of crazy, wild fun. When the murderer gets too close, it is then that Pelham must decide if his reputation as a hard natured Duke is too much to lose to keep this beautiful fun natured scandalous lady safe and in his life. Will Juliette even consider being his forever?
BOOK 2 - If You Give a Rake a Ruby
Her Mysterious Past Is The Best Revenge...
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.
Only He Can Offer Her A Dazzling Future...
Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line...
To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what make her his heart’s desire..
Warrick Fitzhugh is a spy. He is also cast out of his privileged family for the choices he has made in his life. When he discovers that one of "The Diamonds" has a past that links her to a man he seeks, he believes seducing the lady will be all that is required to get the information he desperately requires. Little does he know that this "Diamond" is a tough as nails.
Fallon is considered the "Marchioness of Mystery" for good reason. No one knows where she came from. However, once they take in her beauty, her past doesn't seem important. While Warrick appreciates and savours her beauty, as a spy for the crown he is set on revealing all of Fallon's dark secrets to get to the man that is threatening the lives of many. As Fallon participates in one grand adventure after another with Warrick, she begins to trust him (as he begins to trust her) and a love soon blooms. Will a man that once again craves to be a member of a prominent family risk it all for a supposed "courtesan"? Will it be too late and will her life be spared?
BOOK 3 - Sapphires Are An Earl's Best Friend
She Wants Him...
She Wants Him Not...
Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She'll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington—the duke's son.
Andrew is furious when he finds himself rivaling his father for Lily's attention. When he uncovers Lily's mission, Andrew is faced with impossible choices. It seems he is destined to betray either his family, his country, or the longings of his own heart...
Then there was Lily. SHE IS MY FAVE! Considered the third "Diamond" of the ton, Lily is nicknamed "The Countess of Charm". Not as beautiful as Juliette or Fallon, Lily decides her speciality will be charm. She can charm her way through anything, and this time she need to charm a disgusting Duke that seems to be on a rather indulgent journey after losing his wife. Oh I forget to mention .... Lily is also one of the few female spies working for the crown, and the Duke is suspect of treason. Lily just needs the proof.
Andrew, Earl of Darlington, is horrified at his father's behaviour. He is also ticked off at Lily for trying to invade his father's life. At first, Andrew believes she is just after the title, but as time passes he begins to realize there is so much more to this understated beauty. Unaware that Lily has loved him for years (he was always drooling over Juliette), Andrew begins to see Lily as a woman and not "like a sister". Wanting to do all he can to help makes things right, Andrew conspires with Lily to uncover secrets that could ruin his father. With danger all around them, they could not begin to realize that the most damaging danger is between the two of them and involves their bodies and hearts. Will they reveal all the secrets and live through all this destruction? Will they be able to believe that their love can conquer all?
I know I was quite vague in my descriptions of secrets and danger, love etc ... and I have done this on purpose. There are so many amazing twists and turns in this series that I could not even dream of ruining it for anyone. It is what made these books so good! Shana Galen really does provide all in her novels. I loved experiencing our couples fight for their love, steaming up the pages, and denying the other only to finally give in. When you add a great back story full of adventure, humour, loveable and despicable characters, you have the makings of a 5 star read!
HAPPY READING! :)