Jewell by Tina DeSalvo

Jewell is a bit down on her luck. She’s about to go on trial for theft, her business isn’t going so well, and her grandmother Mimi is losing her memory. She also has a hot piece of southern male who insists on following her around wherever she goes. Woe is me.

What’s it About? 

Once invited into New Orleans’ historic mansions to evaluate prized antiques, Dr. Jewell Duet held a coveted professorship at a top university. With her deep knowledge of Louisiana history and antiquities, she was the go-to person for anyone requiring professional appraisals. But, one hasty decision cost her both her reputation and possibly her freedom. Now, as she waits to discover if her future includes prison, Jewell knows that taking the job at Sugar Mill is necessary if she is to support her beloved grandmother who has advanced dementia.

jewell

Charming, sexy lawyer Beau Bienvenu’s attraction to the intriguing historian vies with his distrust of her motives. Beau has one simple goal when it comes to the family that rescued him and made him part of their clan…protect them at all costs. He doesn’t trust Jewell, nor her reason for taking the lowly job at Sugar Mill Plantation. What is she really up to? Is it possible Jewell and her quirky grandmother are there to try to profit from a Bienvenu family mystery? If so, both women are out of luck. Jewell and Beau are at odds about almost everything. The only things they agree on are that family is everything…and that their mutual attraction is inconvenient.

First Impressions

When Jewell arrives at the Sugar Mill plantation, Beau is immediately suspicious of her intentions. After a bit of digging he discovers she stands accused of stealing personal items from another estate, and he vows to stand guard over her as she works at Sugar Mill. Nobody is gonna scam his family! At first, I’ll admit I wanted to call him a jackass for insisting that she’s guilty before ever standing trial, or hearing her side of the story, but on the other hand you can definitely see where he’s coming from. The evidence against her is pretty convincing, and Jewell doesn’t help matters all that much when she doesn’t deny that she did in fact take something from the other estate.

plantation

A Family Affair

The novel begins with a focus on Jewell and her eccentric grandmother Mimi, as well as a few hints to the legal woes that Jewell is experiencing. However, once she arrives at Sugar Mill we switch gears completely to focus on Beau’s family history, and how Mimi might be connected to an unanswered mystery surrounding the plantation. This family history comes to dominate the story line, and unfortunately I thought it was kind of hard to follow. There were so many family members involved, both past and present, that keeping them all straight without a family tree was rather difficult.

family tree

Courtroom Drama

After focusing on Beau’s family history for the majority of the novel, and the budding romance between him and Jewell, it isn’t until the last 10% of the novel that we finally come back to Jewell’s legal troubles. Everything builds to one final courtroom drama which, although suspenseful, sort of seemed like an afterthought after being absent for so much of the novel. I wish they had talked about her trial more throughout the book, so that it didn’t fall by the wayside. In addition, although the characters don’t know who was responsible for the theft Jewell stands accused of, I thought it was pretty obvious from the get go who was responsible. I must watch too much TV.

cousin vinny

Series: A Second Chance Novel, book 2. I never read book 1, but that wasn’t a problem.

Should you read it? I do think there could have been a better balance between the two story-lines going on, but overall the combination between the mystery of Beau’s family history and Jewell’s accused theft definitely holds your interest.

Smut Level: You will need some patience to wait for these two to finally get around to the good stuff, but they eventually go at it rough and steamy in the front seat of his truck. Oh my!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 347 Pages.

Side Note: Beau is described multiple times as a handsome southern boy with a sexy Cajun accent. I’m sure we’re supposed to picture something like one of these guys:

hot-guy-true-blood-main But all I could ever picture was Swamp People like this:

swamp-people-2014-key-art-hero-AB


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