Monday, January 5, 2009

The Emerald Necklace - Diana Brown

A tragedy of errors. The first error was one of pride - pride that made Lady Leonora spurn the loving attentions of her commoner husband for the frivolous company of her aristocratic friends. The second error was one of vanity - the kind of vanity that made a beautiful young woman an easy victim for the flattery of an all-too-worldly admirer. The third error was one of loyalty - loyalty to a father who would sell anything, even his daughter's honor, to save his own. For Leonora and Etienne Lambert, those were just the opening errors in a battle royal of willful misunderstanding that would give the word marriage a whole new meaning.
Another very emotional story this one starts with a marriage of convenience between a wealthy cit and a ruined nobleman’s daughter. Leonora is married against her will to save her father from debts to a man she dislikes. One sees from the beginning that Etienne, her husband, is very much in love with his wife and tries to please her but Leonora is a childish and selfish young girl and is unable to find any contentment in her marriage despite the fact that she does have an attractive and attentive husband. She keeps being influenced by her snobbish friends and can’t seem to think for herself. Although Etienne is very patient with her it comes to a point where she disappoints him so many times that he decides to give up. Unfortunately for Leonora one of the friends is only snob till she finds herself attracted to Etienne and Leonora finds herself unprepared to deal with that situation. We only see her grow up in fact when she runs away and has to fend for herself. Unlike other romance heroes Etienne, the husband, doesn’t follow her when that happens but seems to realize that maybe his wedding will never be what he wanted to.

This leads to a long separation between them and offers Leonora the possibility of growing up and make up her mind about what she wants. Since we see how Eleonora has changed and matured it is double hard to see her apparently betrayed by both her friend and her husband. Unfortunately the actions of both of them are coloured by the bitterness and distrust from the beginning. Even more than in The Sandalwood Fan, Brown does make her characters suffer either by their own actions or by easily explained misunderstandings. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions reading this story and one gets almost to the end without knowing how a HEA will come about. If there’s a complaint I have is that the ending was wrapped up too quickly and we deserved a better developed one.

Grade: 4.5/5

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