woensdag 20 juli 2011

Elizabeth Lowell – Jade Island

The second book in the Donovans series, published October 1998. I do prefer this cover over my own, which has a little wooden boat on a beach. The only boat mentioned is Kyle’s big SeaSport, the Tomorrow.

Jade Island

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell continues the spectaculair story that began with Amber Beach, sweeping us back into the magnificent, high-risk world of the gem trade in this extraordinary new novel – Jade Island.

Wild and restless, Kyle Donovan has freed himself from the constraints of his family’s high-powered gem-trading empire to rove the world as a treasure hunter. Now the president of Donovan International has given Kyle an assignment with explosive ramifications. A case he must take.
When one of China’s legendary cultural treasures is stolen, Lianne Blakely, a mysterious and beautiful jade expert, is accused of the theft. It’s Kyle’s job to get to the bottom of what could be a potential disaster for the Donovans as well as Lianne.
But Kyle finds himself irresistibly drawn to the exotic beauty and captivated by her fierce claim of innocence. Soon they are in dangerous pursuit of the real thief, drawn deeper into the perils of spiralling power plays, and linked by a passion as powerful as the lore of the ancient culture and as enduring as the splendour of the treasured jade.

Okay, the blurb does no justice to the contents of the book. So, skip it please. Hmm bad cover, bad blurb, but great book!

After his near-death adventure last year, Kyle Donovan has matured a lot. So when Archer asks him to make contact to Lianne Blakely, the bastard daughter of an American woman and a married Chinese man, a member of the Tang family, he is not expecting to fall in lust the moment he sees Lianne. His normal type of woman is tall, blond and curvy. And Lianne is petite, with long dark hair, but of course very pretty in an exotic way. They meet “coincidentally” at a Jade exhibition and auction. Her father, who has never acknowledged her as his daughter, has asked Lianne to make contact with Kyle Donovan two weeks ago, and she has been watching him. But she is not the type to boldly approach a man and ask him a question. So when Kyle approaches her, she is relieved. Now she can do as Johnny Tang, her father, wants, after all.
Lianne is glad with Kyle’s presence with her, as she needs a bodyguard to keep the powerful but lecherous Teng away from her. Her family would like to have the connection with him, but she is scared of Teng. And that is the same family that has never acknowledged her as such. Yes, her grandfather learned her everything she knows about jade, and she has a natural knack and love for it. But they pay her a fraction of her worth, and treat her like a servant instead of a family member.
So, they make a trade. Kyle will serve as her bodyguard, and in exchange, Lianne will teach him more about jade, as it is only a recent passion of Kyle. And Kyle will not only protect her from Teng, but also of the mysterious man who has been following her for weeks now. She only catches glimpses of him, but she knows he is there, and she has no idea why.

The government is shadowing Lianne, as there are rumours about the Jade Emperor’s Tomb being found recently, and that its contents have been sold to an American billionaire/investor. Lianne is supposed to have helped steal the jade, and brokered the deal. It is now up to Lianne and Kyle, with the help of all the other Donovans, to prove her innocence before Uncle throws her in jail to appease the Chinese government, and to find the real thief. And is it a coincidence that the jade in the Tang family vault, which her grandfather loves so dearly, but can no longer see or feel, is being traded with inferior stuff? Something her half brother is blaming her for?

What follows is a fast paced novel, filled with action, romance and love, and more knowledge about jade then you ever wanted to know, but those are things I love in this series. Elizabeth Lowell sure did her homework on gems for those books.
I really liked Lianne. She is a mix of American and Chinese culture, but she doesn’t bow down to the men in her family, although she also doesn’t really know how to handle Kyle when he deliberately bates them. All her life she has wanted to be acknowledged by her father, and the rest of her family. She cannot understand the choice her mother made as a young girl, to become the concubine to a married man, but they are happy in love, whenever they are together. Still, he has never said the word daughter to her. The rest of the family ignores her, or calls her names, but she still wants to please them, especially her grandfather. But when they give her up, throw her to the wolves, there is only Kyle left to turn to. But after one hot night, will he come to her aid?
And Kyle, after being burned so badly in the previous book by a gorgeous woman, can’t believe he is falling for one again. It is so clearly a set up. But for the benefit of Donovan International, he will go through with it, and find out if Lianne is up to her ears in all this mess, or an innocent framed to take the fall. He is attracted to her beauty from the start, but it is her character, her mind and her very quick with that capture him. The Donovans are a great family, they will always be there for each other, not matter how much they tease.
There is a little more about their father and mother, whom they all call The Donovan, and Susa, who is a famous paintress.
Lianne longs for such a family of her own. Yes, she loves her mother, but she has always been lonely, never really fitting in.

The suspense part of the book is beautifully written, you just can’t figure out how they will beat everyone, both the bad guys as Uncle (the FBI), to safe Lianne. Parts of the plot are of course easy to guess, but not the whole of it. Even when reading it for the third time or so, I was kept on the edge of my chair, and rooting for Lianne. She just believed her relationship with Kyle was temporary, when he and all the other Donovans already knew he wanted to keep her. Really nice ending.
Lots of action, lots of jade, lots of witty bantering, and lots of info on the Chinese family culture a westerner will never fully understand. And of course some hot love scenes.

9 stars.

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