Format Read: eGalley
Challenges: COYER NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble |
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Blurb from goodreads:
On her deathbed, Kate Gavrill's mother finally tells her the truth: she is a descendant of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. Kate is the final heir to a family fortune, but nothing is simple in the tragic history of the Romanov clan. In order to claim the royal riches, Kate must find a long-missing alexandrite gem-the Romanov Stone-which is no easy task.
Simon Blake, a respected New York gemologist, will be her companion as they travel overseas in search of the legendary jewel. They will not be fighting historians or archaeologists, however. Instead, they must go up against jewel thieves, members of a blood-thirsty crime syndicate, and a sinister cleric trained in mind control.
Simon wants to find the stone as much as Kate does, but his romantic feelings for her make him more protective than proactive. He wants no harm to come to Kate, whereas she is fiercely driven by the need to make sense of her family history. She knows she deserves the fortune. Kate will find the alexandrite and restore honor to the Romanov line-if it's the last thing she does.
Royalty, intrigue, mystery, family drama, romance, so many tropes to enjoy! I don't know much about Russian history or the Romanovs, a little that I've learned here and there but not enough to be any sort of expert. The book seemed well-researched and the basic premise, that Kate is the illegitimate great-granddaughter of Tsar Alexander, seems viable. There have always been rumors of survivors of the massacre, it's a story that grabs people's imaginations and makes for steamy drama.
The story didn't live up to its potential. The premise was interesting but there was too much drama and oh so over the top. The storyline with Rasputin's descendant was, for me, utterly unbelievable. My eyes almost fell out from all of the rolling they did. And Kate's search for the jewel was too easy. There were complications later but they felt like filler as if the author were trying to hit a target length for the book. There was a romance between Kate and a gemologist, Simon. I liked Simon; he was a bit of a geek, he could be condescending, but he was a decent and interesting character and a refreshing change for a male romance/action lead. A skilled gemologist, he was hopeless as an action hero but it was believable. I wouldn't have bought it if he'd been portrayed otherwise. But the sexual attraction and romance between he and Kate didn't work. It felt forced, again as if the author was checking off from a list. It wasn't organic or necessary to the story. There were also plot holes, such as why Kate's mother was murdered and how it was accomplished, Kate's ability to drop everything and take the summer off, etc.
Despite all that, I kept reading. I had ideas on how the story would play out and I wanted to see if I was right. And I wanted to see how over the top the author would go.The author did throw some curve balls and surprise me a few times which I appreciated. Overall, the story was merely okay and I doubt if I'll read more by this author.