Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sample Reading #13: The Queen of Diamonds by Juliet Moore

Sample Reading

This is a new feature on my blog called Sample Reading. This is where I will talk about book samples that I've gotten online. I'll read the sample and will answer the very important question:

Will I buy it?

This was a case of me judging a book by its cover. I love the expression on her face and her dress is so lovely. (And the color scheme is unique for a historical romance.)

The Blurb:
A priceless diamond leads to love and adventure in late nineteenth century England ...

Only once has anyone cared for abandoned Catherine Claremont's welfare. Handsome Harrison Foster saved her from a pack of cruel neighborhood girls, and walked out of Catherine's young life with her heart.

Imagine Catherine's surprise when her estranged parents send her an invaluable diamond eight years later, a gift that might be a ticket to a better life. She marries Marcus Watson, a third son with no inheritance and the same goal, and uses the diamond to buy a stake in the South African diamond fields.

Once there, nothing goes as planned. Greed consumes Marcus. Harrison Foster re-appears unexpectedly -- and then Marcus mysteriously disappears. As a married woman, Catherine does her best to avoid the man she's always loved. But in the end she must choose between finding Marcus--and keeping her respectability--or running to Harrison and forbidden love.
- from Amazon's Book Description

I got the sample from: Amazon, Kindle
# of Pages: First 2 chapters of a 147-page novella

My Impressions:
The cover is lovely -- but the cover also confuses me. My initial expectation was that this would be about cards and gambling and I was surprised that the "diamond" being referred to in the title actually refers to diamond mines in Africa.

Catherine's a heroine to feel sorry for: abandoned by her parents at a young age and then subjected to teasing and taunting from her cousin and their childhood "friends" -- and to second-class treatment from her uncle and aunt. Catherine's clothes are threadbare and/or are hand-me-downs from her cousin -- who also confuses me. I'm not certain she sees Catherine as a friend -- there's underlying hostility in how she talks to Catherine.

The writing is a bit too modern for Victorian England:

"I bet you she doesn't even have parents. She was abandoned by wolves."
- loc 10

(Origin/history of "bet" from Online Etmology Dictionary)

I also have a problem with how well Catherine remembers Harrison Foster: they only met once (and very briefly -- and at a public inn) when she was twelve years old and she's carried a torch for him ever since? And isn't it a bit too convenient that he happens to be in Africa and they meet there again after all that time?

Price: $0.99 ($2.99 for international)

Will I buy it?
I'm not so sure. On one hand, I'd love to read a story about the diamond mines in Africa (and I want to find out who she chooses in the end) but, on the other hand, I don't know if I can overlook all the inconsistencies in the sample.



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