A Review: The Jewel Series by Hallee Bridgeman

Sapphire Ice Greater than Rubies Emerald Fire Topaz heat

Sapphire Ice

To Robin Bartlett, men were nothing more than violent users. After a hair-raising childhood, Robin and her two younger half-sisters battled simply to survive. Determined to give her sisters a very different life from that of their mother; to never have to rely on a man for anything, she worked two jobs and put them both through college, while accepting help from no one. Her heart had turned to ice and she had no use for men or God.

Antonio “Tony” Viscolli had grown up on the streets, homeless. At seventeen, he entered a downtown church with the intent of casing it, but found himself on his knees at the altar. After being fostered by the youth minister, Tony followed God’s leading and eventually became a very successful and powerful businessman. In a fallen world, he was a gem.

When Tony bought the restaurant where Robin tended bar, she immediately resented his intrusion into her well-ordered, but exhausting, life. She suspected his offering her special attention and constant kindness was merely his way of expecting something from her in return, something she wasn’t willing to give. Tony knew God had led him to Robin. Would she ever allow herself to trust him? Could she ever allow herself to trust God? Or would the winter of their tragic youth rise from the shadows of the past and freeze any chance at happiness?

My sister came across this book one day while scrolling through Amazon for great Christian fiction. She couldn’t put it down and insisted that I read it too. As soon as I started the first page, I was hooked. Bridgeman has managed to present a faithful, loving man, who is instantly endeared to the reader because of the way he loves and care for those around him. Despite all the reasons Robin has not to trust Tony, his patience and his genuine honesty break down her walls. Robin’s reservations are also instantly understood by the reader, even if the reader is not someone who went through the kind of abuse Robin did. Immediately, the reader wants these two to be together. Every twist and turn in the story makes total sense and engages the reader’s imagination. I love the way Robin and Tony love each other and I have to say that I could not put it down and finished the whole thing in a 24 hour period. I would definitely recommend it!

Greater than Rubies

*** 2014 EPIC eBook Awards™ Finalist for the Spiritual category ***
Robin Bartlett said, “Yes!” Will she say, “I do,” when the big day arrives? From his cultured handsome looks to his vast fortune, Antonio “Tony” Viscolli is every girl’s dream. Robin comes from a blistering past, struggling for survival in a cold, cruel world. Robin never had a chance to dream of a white wedding gown or a prince charming. Instead, her dreams were nightmares — dark and clouded with fear and desperation. By the time Tony thaws her heart, she has known hunger, poverty, violence, and want.

For months, Tony courted the blond beauty with the sapphire eyes. He showered with attention, respect, and charm and covered her in diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Finally, Robin came to understand God’s love for her as imitated by the unconditional love Tony freely offered. On a sunny Florida beach, Tony proposed.

Back in bitter cold Boston, doubts about becoming a billionaire’s bride begin to burden her hopes for happiness. Robin struggles to cope with the never-ending details of the shower, ceremony, reception, and honeymoon; the prospects of changing her name and relocating; and the very public image she must suddenly adopt; all while dealing with her father’s very serious legal problems.

As the date draws inexorably near and the pressure mounts, Robin questions whether she is truly the woman God has made for him. Is she the girl of his dreams? His vast material wealth begins to overwhelm her. Nightmares from a forgotten past return in full force, reminding Robin of an even deeper and more terrifying prospect. Will she give in to her insecurities and cancel Boston’s “Royal Wedding” for good? Or, with God’s guidance, can Tony sacrifice everything to prove to his beloved Robin her true worth

Inspired by the Critically Acclaimed Christian Anthology – The Jewel Trilogy — Greater Than Rubies takes place immediately after book 1 and before book 2.

Having read and loved Sapphire Ice, I was always a little disappointed that it did not include Robin and Tony’s wedding. So, I have to say that this book is the much needed conclusion to their romance. Despite some of Robin’s demons rearing their ugly head, I was constantly rooting for their wedding to happen. The way the wedding was planned, complete with the theme and colours was beautiful and as was the continuation of the love story of their relationship. It was worth every twist and turn and I plan on reading this book again and again!

Emerald Fire

A terrifying past imprisoned Maxine Bartlett all her adult life, shackling her with fear anytime a man even touched her. In a spontaneous weekend, she unintentionally elopes with an unlikely groom. After a magical wedding night filled with love and passion, “Maxi” finally discards her dreadful chains. She doesn’t know that her new husband has turned his back on God. Worried over how the world might see the completely unexpected – and some would certainly say inappropriate – marriage, in his pride he promises Maxine a quiet annulment.

Maxine refuses to cooperate because she is unwilling to let their marriage disappear as if it never happened. Seeking God’s will, she moves in with him and informs him that when he decides to act like her husband again, he will find his loving wife waiting for him right there in their home. As the days stretch into weeks, the newlyweds slowly begin to trust and even love each other. Then, just as they begin to live the “happily ever after” love story that neither of them ever dreamed could come true, a sudden and nightmarish catastrophe strikes that could wreck everything. Will her husband realize that he must trust God once more? Can he find peace and strength enough to carry them through the flames?

I have to say, despite how much I enjoyed Sapphire Ice and Greater than Rubies, Emerald Fire by far is my favourite in the series. It’s a fantastic sequel to Sapphire Ice. The love story between Maxine and her husband is touching and instantly captures the reader’s imagination. I thought the writing was well done and the character of Maxine, which I have to say I wasn’t sure I completely understood in Sapphire Ice, suddenly sprang to life as someone I could engage with and identify with. It’s that good! Thoroughly enjoyed it, would definitely read it again and would certainly recommend to a friend.

Topaz Heat

The very moment Derrick meets Sarah, he realizes he has a reason to live. Sarah sees only an unshaven tough kid covered with tattoos and shuts down every advance. Sarah Thomas has no memory of her broken young life leading up to the tragic murder of her mother. Her memory begins the morning she wakes in the home of her loving adoptive parents. She doesn’t even know her sisters exist until her 15th year. She learns to love her siblings, but always feels a little out of place in their presence.

A benevolent billionaire offers Derrick DiNunzio a home and an education. Fresh off the streets and rescued from a criminal future, Derrick sheds his old life. He trades his ripped leather jacket for silk suits; dealing drugs for mentoring “at risk” youth; lock picking and back door jobs for the rigors of mountain climbing and hotel management. Sarah cannot seem to see beyond the past Derrick left behind … until one day she does. When they finally come together, an indictment threatens their future. Now the heat is on. Will Sarah finally set aside her prejudices and open her heart to true love or will the long forgotten past tear them apart forever?

In so many ways, Topaz Heat needed to be written to help the reader understand Sarah. I always found Sarah a little hard to connect with before this book. Her inability to remember her broken home and years of abuse is a blessing but it also prevents her from being able to connect with her sisters. I loved Derrick and the way he constantly rubbed her up the wrong way. I also loved the way Sarah’s prejudices were (finally) explained in a way that you didn’t hate her. I really enjoyed this final book in the Jewel Series and it was a lovely note to end on.


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