Desert Isle Keeper Review
Jewels of the Sun
(This DIK review was written by a reader)
1999, Contemporary Romance
Jove, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0515126772
Part of a series
There are two reviews of this bookIt is always a delight to read a new novel by Nora Roberts, but seemingly she may be on the brink of writing the best novels of her career. The deep, rich characterizations in Jewels of the Sun drive the plot and give life to the Irish backdrop. Roberts easily holds her reign as the queen of modern romance with this entry.
"You mustn't ever fall out of character," my high school English teacher would say, wagging her finger at the class. In Roberts' latest romance, she very adeptly uses the age-old psychological personality indicator (Myers-Briggs, Keirsey, et. al.) first developed by Plato and Aristotle thousands of years ago to shed light on her hero and heroine's characters. The heroine, Jude Murray, easily falls into the idealist-mentor trait as a counselor. The hero, Aidan Gallagher, is less clearly defined, but presumably he is of the same character type, since he as an idealist in love insists on "love, and passion, and the meeting of the minds before there [are] vows." This type of highly intuitive romanticist is often characterized as having the sixth sense that others lack or choose to ignore for more sensible (alas, more common) approaches to life. And Aidan "sees ghosts".
Jude and Aidan's relationship is spellbinding and is expertly driven by the complex personalities of the two lead characters. Their attraction builds quickly (almost too quickly, which is why there is a minus next to the A rating), but Roberts still delivers a good story, with excellent characters who meld with bouts of soul binding sex.
Jude is a character in search of her true self. Over the course of the novel, she comes to realize the "fey" side of her nature, that chasing your dreams is not a bad thing. Most importantly, Jude discovers she was born to write. Although hesitant at first to put her words to paper, she eventually overcomes her doubts and accepts her storytelling ability.
The rural Irish locale ties the novel together; the sense of place is keenly developed from the very first pages, lending legitmacy for the ghosts and legends that pop up throught the novel. Author Roberts continues to showcase the physical environment throughout the novel, tying the Irish setting closely with the romance in a wonderfully liberating love scene that takes place under the moonlight and in the grass. Roberts' imagery at this moment is profound - the tentative, strained, and conservative Jude has become so liberated that she can take a dominent and aggressive position with Aidan. The reader can surmise, perhaps, that Jude's new-found freedom allows her to become one with the earth.
In terms of personality traits of authors, I must admit that I am particularly fond of the Idealist writer (A good guess would indicate that Roberts, Sandra Brown, Karen Robards, and even Edith Wharton from years gone by fall into this category). And when an Idealist writer authors a book about an Idealist writer, I see myself so clearly that I become all bubbly inside and buy the novel for everyone I know.
Jewels of the Sun is not quite perfect - Roberts' characters are much better than the plot. But this is truly a minor concern and, perhaps, will be rectified in the two future installments of the Irish trilogy.
-- Laura Gawronski
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