Sapphire Ice (Inspirational Romance) (The Jewel Series Book 1) 4th Edition, Kindle Edition
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I assume you have read the general description of the storyline and I'll try not to rehash what you already know. You'll find strongly written characters that drive the story. Some have come from harsh backgrounds and have overcome the poverty and cruelty of their beginning. Others are still struggling. The story is so much more than rich man falls in love with poor woman. There are spiritual lessons throughout. At first it may look as if the message is "trust God and He will make you rich and your life trouble free". Keep reading and look deeper and you will see that much is required in God's eyes of those he has entrusted with wealth. You will also see that God is no respecter of persons. Those who love and serve Him live in the joy and peace of a relationship in Him no matter there status in the world. The Christian thread is strong with heartfelt prayer, life decisions, struggles and consequences, scripture, repentance, and a salvation message. It is well done and flows naturally within the story. The romance "...sigh" factor is high with desire restrained within integrity and respect. There are very few editing errors and no obvious logistical fallacies. The story is complete, without unfinished side stories, hooks or cliffhangers. It has stuck with me for years to be reread like visiting old friends. I have over two thousand books in my library. That's enough to read a different book every day for over five and a half years. Yet, this is the third time I'm reading this series. I'm not going to tell you that this is the best of the best. I'm just saying there is something special here that is well worth my time and yours. I believe a book should earn its stars. This one has. I give it four and a half stars only because of the editing errors.
Robin Bartlett grew up believing all men were savage beasts, and having her mother shot dead by her father would do that. She went through the foster system with one foster sister, lost a half-sister to it only to regain her later. She worked two jobs and went without to give her two half-sisters a chance in life by funding their college all by herself. She would accept no help from anyone, and she had lost her faith in God a long time ago. Antonio "Tony" Viscolli grew up in the streets and had a rough life. He entered a church one day, hoping to rob it, but instead, had a crisis of faith and was fostered by the youth minister, reformed, and became a real businessman. And he just bought the restaurant that Robin bartended. Robin resented the charismatic and powerful Tony, and suspected his attention to her is simply expecting some sort of payback. Tony knew that God led him to Robin for a purpose, but can he show Robin the way back to God and love?
As inspirational romance, there is no sex in this book, just soulful kisses and deep sense of belonging, and Tony insisted that Robin had to find God before he can love her. But he was nice to her, and expect nothing in return, much like God expected us to love. People who are a bit cynical may find this eye-roll worth, but it was properly plotted, complete with a darkest hour. However, as with most inspirational romance, the only obstacle is one's heart, and most evil simply change their stance upon being confronted and have a change of heart. Which is why this doesn't get a 5-star. If criminals just need a bit of talking-to, there wouldn't really be crminals, would there?
Often a romance story is sweet and leaves you feeling sentimental or at the very least not on the edge of your seat. Reading romance is a simple pastime, meant to be enjoyable and yet not too taxing. It's not usually hard to put a bookmark in and go back to life.
Not so this time. This book goes well beyond that. Yes, I enjoyed relaxing while reading "Sapphire Ice." But I have to admit, I read it through in a day. I found myself picking it up every time I had 5 minutes to spare and staying up well past my normal bed time hour to complete it. Why? Not to see who is falling in love with whom, but to find out more about the richly developed characters. The author uncovers human longing, doesn't gloss over human response to create an unbelievable hero, and openly covers issues few romance authors would dare to bring into a plot. In truth, that is a good thing; very few authors have the gift to bring real life into a book and weave its elements into a tale that captivates both the mind and the heart. I like reading a book with people I can relate to, situations that I can understand. I also like reading a book and leaving it feeling as though I've discovered more about myself.
Bridgeman's gift with words pulls you into the story and into the lives of those she is describing. The prologue to the book is gripping and gritty and you find yourself needing to see how those three precious girls turn out. The sneak peek at book two has me waiting (impatiently) for its release.
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