Amethyst
by Lauren Royal, historical (2000)
Signet, $5.99, ISBN 0-451-19951-0


The main reason why I plunked Amethyst into my book bag is because the heroine's a working class woman (a jeweler) and this story features the Great Fire Of London in 1666. But somewhere in the story aliens appear and zap everyone's brain cells to particles.

Amethyst Goldsmith is a jeweler of great skill (as if you can't tell from her name). Unfortunately she loses her father, her shop, everything in the Great Fire. Devastated, she has nowhere to go or no one to turn to. In comes the Earl of Greystone, Colin Chase, who has been attracted to Amy since he bought a bauble from her for his sister. He takes Amy in, and they start thinking of making babies. But Colin is engaged to a woman who - cue marching band - is the most selfish peabrain in Restoration England.

So what are they to do? Colin can't call off the engagement. Okay, he can, but that moron doesn't want to. He wants Amy, he wants his fiancée's money, and I want him fried in oil, that selfish cad. Not that Amy minds, for she lost her spine in the fire as well. She spends the rest of the story mooning over Colin, lamenting how she loves him - oh how she loves him! - and going all worked up in jealousy over Colin and the Other Woman. Never once did she hoist her diamond cutter and tell that cad to take his Mr Wonky out of the room.

And to make things worse, it is Colin's family who bring them together. This is one of my peeve: supposedly grand love stories where one needs loud, meddling family to finally get the two dimwits together. How much faith can I put in a romance where the two main characters don't put up much initiative to stay together? Wonder if the whole Chase clan go along for the honeymoon.

Oh, and if I haven't read the first few chapters, I wouldn't have known Amy's a jeweler. I would've thought her the new rug in the Chase manor.

Amethyst may take place in a little-used setting, but it never even succeed to utilizing the potential it has. In fact, it's sad that the only fire in this story is the one that burns everything down in the first few chapters. Pity really.

Rating: 64


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