Once Upon A Romance

Once Upon A Romance's Review Of...
Guardian of the Jewel by LaVerne Clark


Cover art: Guardian of the Jewel Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Guardian of the Jewel
Author: LaVerne Clark
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
ISBN-13: Digital format
Release Date: November 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic Suspense
Year/Setting: Present day, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
LaVerne's Website/Blog: None found

Amy Hamblin is a hardworking single mom. After being widowed, she decides to keep the bed and breakfast going. She and Thomas, her deceased husband, bought and fixed up the place hoping to turn it into a thriving business. Thomas was brutally murdered 18 months ago and since then, itís been a struggle for Amy and their son, Daniel, to keep things afloat. They make a good team and work hard to give the guests an enjoyable stay.

Since reservations are down, Amy accepts a single man, Gabriel Ryan, against her better judgment. She usually wonít accept a single man unless there are others staying at the B&B at the same time. Gabe is more man than she bargained for. Heís good looking and for the first time since Thomasí death, she is having some racy thoughts towards a man. It appears that the attraction is mutual. But as she keeps finding little things amiss, sheís not sure if Gabe can be trusted.

Unbeknownst to the Hamblinís and their guests, they are being watched by an evil man. Razor is a man who is after Amy and Daniel and the jewel Thomas left behind. Itís taken Razor forever to track down Thomasí family, but he canít wait to use his razor on themÖand get the jewel back as well. Razor keeps leaving a little trail of clues for Amy to find. He wants her fully panicked when he makes his move.

Amy canít be sure if Gabe is the enemy or a friend. When their passion explodes in the bedroom, he seems to be more than a friend. But when danger comes calling, Amy realizes she might have been sleeping with the enemyÖand she and Daniel might die for her mistakes.

LaVerne Clark has written an amazing first book for us. I know it won a contest and after reading the story, I see why. She has the finesse of a much more seasoned writer. Amy and Gabe have such depth to their characters. I loved Gabe and his easy-going ways from the beginning. I knew there was more to him than met the eye, but the sincerity of his love for his family and his desire to protect Amy won me over as a "Gabe fan" for life. Amy is a wonderful woman who has chosen to turn a blind eye to the signals Thomas was giving before he died. I had such empathy for her and her current situation. I also felt very sad for her because, at times, her sorrow was a palpable thing. Her grit and can-do spirit see her through the rough times and her love for her son, Daniel, keeps her moving each day. I loved seeing how Amy and Daniel interacted not only as mother and son, but also as business partners. For a pre-teen, heís a great kid.

Overall, the story had the right amount of suspense and mystery to keep me on edge, without making me overly crazy. The romance that develops between Gabe and Amy feels right and the story moves fluidly from beginning to end. I really enjoyed reading LaVerne Clarkís first book and look forward to reading more by this talented author.


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