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Sandra Heath: Diamond Dreams

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Signet (Paperback), ISBN 0451214498

Book: sandra heath, diamond dreams
Diamond Dreams contains a little bit of something for everyone: an impoverished heiress, a heart-broken lord, a conniving vamp set on stealing said lord from said heiress, a horse-whisperer with near magical abilities and a mad Russian prince with a pack of vicious dogs at his command.

But let me explain. Miss Ellie Rutherford finds herself alone and penniless after the bank swindles her father out of his fortune. Devastated, he kills himself. Ellie goes to live with her uncle, a pottery-maker. Imagine her surprise when she learns that her uncle lives on the land of Athan, Lord Griffin. Athan -- the man who once stole a kiss from her, because she reminded him of a woman in a portrait.

All would go well, except Athan is already betrothed to a woman he can't stand. And Ellie's uncle's past comes back to haunt her, in the form of a Russian prince determined to destroy him and everything he loves.

I found much in Diamond Dreams to enjoy. Sandra Heath possesses a good eye for detail so that her writing paints visibly rich pictures. Her use of Welsh lore adds an often charming layer to the story. Gwilym, the Welsh horse-whisperer blessed with supernatural abilities, comes across as one of the most compelling characters in the novel.

That said, several aspects of the book made me squirm. Personally, I thought it rather creepy that Athan fell in love with a picture first, and with Ellie second. Many a reader, I'm sure, will disagree and insist that it's all terribly romantic. Perhaps, but I never got that sense from the writing.

Also, while I thoroughly liked the character of Gwilym, he unfailingly appeared just when danger threatened and used his supernatural abilities to save the day. Very good for Gwilym, but I wanted to see a little more emphasis on the abilities of our perfectly capable hero and heroine.

Do I recommend the book? Yes, with some reservation. Heath brings the Regency era alive, and her plot twists enough to keep you guessing. I'll just need to hope for Gwilym to appear the next time I face a pack of killer dogs.

Kathryn Yelinek

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