I feel like I timed this read just right. I had just finished reading a Sebastian St Cyr mystery that featured the Hope Diamond or the French Blue and I was eager to read this one because it too featured the diamond I had been reading about.
I have been a fan of M. J. Rose for a long time as well and it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by her and as soon as I dove into this one, I remembered how much I loved her books and I can’t believe it’s been so long since I read one!
If you have any interest in the gemstone/diamond industry this book has lots of little details that will excite you and draw you in…..I confess I spent a lot of time on the internet lost in research of the Hope Diamond while I was reading this book and I to me that’s a hallmark of a fabulous book!
New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.
Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses—even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.
Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.
Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, of ruthless men and the atrocities they commit in the pursuit of power, this enthralling historical novel explores our very human needs for love, retribution—and to pursue one’s destiny, regardless of the cost. (summary from Goodreads)
So let me start by saying that I loved this one. I am absolutely fascinated by the diamond industry as well as the Gilded Age not to mention this cover is drool worthy. Needless to say, I was primed to love this book even before I started it.
This book easily transported me to its setting. I thought Rose did a fantastic job creating a realistic world of glitz and glamour and romanticism which was just what I was expecting when I opened this book. I also enjoyed the lore and details surrounding the Hope Diamond that the author included in this book. Much of the lore I was unfamiliar with beyond just my own research and I thought that the way Rose brought the history of the diamond to the story made it all the more exciting to read.
The only thing that I thought was a little disappointing was I felt a little disconnected with Vera who was the main character. On one hand I really liked her—eventually. I didn’t like her right away mostly because I couldn’t quite get a read on her until later. I am not sure why but I just didn’t connect with her right away—she had to grow on me. I was surprised because usually I don’t have any problem connecting with Rose’s heroines but in Vera’s case, I did. That was the only thing that kept me from giving this one a 5 star review. Overall it was a fascinating novel with lots to love and learn about in regards to the gemstone industry, but would have liked to connect more with Vera right away rather than later on in the story.