Review: A Precious Jewel

A Precious Jewel
A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prostitute Heroine and a Beta Hero

“And if she was a whore, then he was a man who found it necessary to employ whores because he was no good at real relationships.”

FINAL DECISION: Complex and nuanced, A PRECIOUS JEWEL takes a difficult situation and goes deep within the relationship in order to build toward a happy ending. The story is slow and detailed, but every moment is necessary to make the progression feel real.

THE STORY: Sir Gerald Stapleton is a confirmed bachelor with a distrust of marriage. He wants uncomplicated sex so he goes to a brothel for his pleasure. There he meets, Priss, a prostitute. He ends up deciding to take her as his mistress. The two grow closer which worries Gerald. His uncomplicated world is shaken when Priss tells him that she is leaving him to marry another man. Priscilla Wentworth grew up a gentlewoman, but falling on hard times, she makes the decision to sell herself. She begins to fall for Gerald even as she knows that a prostitute doesn’t have a future with a client.

OPINION: This is the story of a prostitute finding love, but there is no magical solution to the fact that Priss has sold herself to many men. This is not a book where the “prostitute” heroine is really a virgin, or pretending to sell herself. Priss is a working prostitute when she meets Gerald, who is a client. Balogh never turns away from difficult premises for her stories. This story is deep and complex and takes a long time to wind through the journey of these characters. The book’s action takes place over more than a year’s time and the characters have many challenges to face.

Priss is a likeable heroine. She is down to earth and practical. She ends up falling in love with Gerald despite knowing that there can be no happy ending for them. Gerald is a beta hero. He is quiet and more uncertain about himself than might be expected. But he and Priss are such a great combination.

I loved how these two connected and navigated this difficult situation.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book takes place at the same time as the events in THE IDEAL WIFE.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A PRECIOUS JEWEL is the second book in the Stapleton-Downes series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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