Friday, January 09, 2009

Diamond Duo - A Review by Keli Gwyn

Please welcome my "writer friend" and critique partner, Keli Gwyn, to the blog today! She has written a wonderful review of a book she obviously loved, Diamond Duo by debut author, Marcia Gruver. Here's Keli's review:

Marcia Gruver transports the reader to Jefferson, Texas in the year 1877, a real town with a rich history—and an attention-grabbing murder. Using the facts from the actual events leading up to the dastardly deed, Ms. Gruver brings to life a fictionalized account, a gem of a story resplendent with well-developed characters and emotion.

The story begins with the appearance of the mysterious, elegantly attired and bejeweled “Diamond Bessie” and the menacing man who holds a tight leash on her. Enter the heroine of Diamond Duo, a young woman of faith, Bertha Biddie, who wants nothing more than to attract the attention of Thaddeus Bloom. Certain the gorgeous, self-assured “Bessie,” “Annie,” or whomever she is knows the secret to catching a gentleman’s eye, Bertha befriends her. Thaddeus, equally captivated by Bertha, must put duty before love. He heads off to military school to satisfy his domineering father, leaving his beloved behind, much to his dismay. She pines for him and yet is worried about her newfound friend, whom she fears is in serious trouble.

With a rich cast of memorable secondary characters, Ms. Gruver sweeps the reader into a story that moves her quickly from one engaging scene to the next. Sarah King, a black farmer’s wife dealing with lingering attitudes resulting from the Civil War, is beautifully portrayed. She plays a significant role in the story, which we see from her perspective on numerous occasions. A powerful transformation takes place in the lives of Bertha’s parents. I loved the addition of these people as well as the others who populate the town and the story. The book is definitely a romance, but it’s also a wonderfully told tale of the life-changing effects the events leading up to the heinous crime have on a close-knit community and how seemingly disparate individuals overcome their differences. The growth of the major players is wonderful to witness.

When I pick up a book from a new author, I never know what to expect. In some cases, I feel a sense of disappointment. In others, I come away satisfied. Every now and then, though, I’m so mightily impressed that I add that author to my “must read” list, which is the case with Marcia Gruver. She’s an artist whose canvas is the page and whose medium is carefully chosen words. The cover includes a quotation from author Kathleen Y’barbo, “ A masterpiece waiting to be found.” I agree.

I heartily recommend Diamond Duo to any reader who enjoys a historical inspirational. And the good news is that if, like me, you’re left wanting more, the sequel, Chasing Charity, book two in the Texas Fortunes series, is coming in spring 2009. It’s on my “gotta get it” list, that’s for sure.

Thanks, Keli! Great review.


mommy4life said...

Sounds very interesting. I might have to add it to my list.

Carole said...

I have this book but haven't read it yet. I appreciate the review and look forward to reading it.

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for stopping by, mommy4life and Carole.

If you like historical inspirationals, I think you'll enjoy Diamond Duo. Marcia Gruver has a wonderful voice as a writer. Her way of wording things is fresh and new. And her characters are well-developed and interesting. This was one of those books I couldn't put down. Not just because the story is so interesting, but because I loved reading Marcia's artistry with words.

If you'd like to know more about Marcia and Diamond Duo, I interviewed her at Romance Writers on the Journey on 11/23/2008. Here's the link:

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks for that link, Keli!

Robin Johns Grant said...

It's nice to discover new authors. Sounds intriguing.