woensdag 20 juli 2011

Elizabeth Lowell - Pearl Cove

The third book in de Donovan series, published June 1999.

Pearl Cove

He might help her, if the price is right.
Surrounded by potential enemies, Hannah McGarry faces the mystery of her husband’s suspicious death, the prospect of bankruptcy … and the disappearance of the fabulous Black Trinity necklace that was to be her financial security. Desperate, she calls Archer Donovan, a silent partner in Pearl Cove, her late husband’s pearl farm venture. He might help her … if the price is right.
Archer Donovan would rather forget he’d ever heard of Pearl Cove … it’s memories of living on the dark side, the soulnumbing certainty that there was no law, no justice, no mercy: just hunters and the hunted. That life taught him to trust one but family. But when Hannah McGarry calls in an old debt Archer is back in the game. And at his side in pursuit of the stolen fortune is a woman he shouldn’t want, yet cannot resist … a woman who may know more than she’s telling about her husband’s death … and more than is safe to know about the dark and elusive black pearls. With deadly competitors on their tails, Archer and Hannah race through uncharted waters in search of the fabulous Black Trinity. And the closer they come to finding the coveted pearls, the closer they come to danger and death … and to each other.

It’s the middle of the night in Seattle when Archer Donovan gets a phone call. A voice from his past, but one he never forgot. Hannah McGarry, the woman who married his half-brother Len a decade ago, the one woman he can never get out of his mind. When she tells him, Len is dead, and she is scared of her own life and needs him, he flies to Australia as fast as he can. Len and Hannah owned and operated a pearl farm on the coast of Australia, with Archer as a silent partner. It appears Len knew the secret to created the elusive black pearls, with a rainbow luster, and he was killed for his secrets. And now “they” believe Hannah must have also known the secret, as she was his wife. Archer needs to protect Hannah, recover the stolen pearls, and he wants to find his brother’s murderer. But Len made an enemy out of everyone he ever met, so there are suspects too many.
The Australian government, who wants to keep the Chinese from getting a monopoly on the pearl trade, the Chinese government, more specifically the Chang family, who want the monopoly on high end pearls, and the secret of the black pearls who look like black opals. Ian Chang, the number one son of Sam Chang, also wants Hannah for his own, but she keeps refusing him. And then there is Coco, who works at Pearl Cove, and whom every man longs for. And she likes plenty of men herself and only laughs at Hannah for living like a nun. Len was crippled the last seven years of their marriage, and he hated Hannah as much as he needed her. So her life was not easy, only diving for oysters gave her still a sense of freedom.
And now there is Archer. Who wants her, and makes no secret of it. But he is so much alike Len, she never wants that again. Big and handsome, but also ruthless, cold, determined. She never has had sex like she has with Archer, but when he wants to marry her, she refuses. She only needs him for protection and sex, nothing else. She doesn’t believe he can be different, but when she sees him with his family, all those other Donovans, she comes to regret that decision. He literally freezes all over when he is interacting with her, while he is warm and gently with his family. So unlike Len, or her own parents, who are missionaries in the Brazilean rainforest. Hannah wanted out of that life, and she saw Len as her escape ticket to something better. Boy, was she wrong in that choice. O, he did marry her after all, but not because he loved her. Len noticed Archer’s interest in Hannah, so he made sure he got there first.

When Hannah and Archer are safely back in Seattle, the search for the stolen pearls begins, putting them close together, and still apart. Until Archer is in danger, and Hannah finally realises her own feelings, and how different Archer is from Len. But can she convince Archer of the truth of that? And what happens when their adventure together is over? When the pearls are found, and the murderer of Len brought to justice or punished?

The first thing my boyfriend said: are you reading a book without a half naked man on the cover? Yes I am. Of course, that hot man was inside of the book ;)
Another great suspense novel by Elizabeth Lowell. I loved every page of it, again. The descriptions are so lively, you just feel the heat and humidity of Australia in Summer, and then the cold and rain in Seattle. The dangerous atmosphere in the Triade’s place.

Hannah hasn’t had an easy life. Living in the rainforest in primitive conditions with one of the tribes who life there, and later, being dragged all over the third world countries by her husband Len, while he was searching for his personal holy grail. But still, she keeps going, keeps seeing the good things. She teaches English to the Chinese children of their divers, she does some woodworking, and she has a great eye for sorting pearls on color and luster, a rare and sought after talent. Yes, she doubt Archer at first, but finally she sees trough the surface to the real him, and he is nothing like his half brother after all.
Archer felt bad leaving Hannah with his half brother all those years ago. He knew Len wasn’t really sane, but he did believe Hannah would be good for him. And she chose Len over himself. Len kept taunting Archer with Hannah, until he finally told him to get lost and never come back again. He didn’t need or want Archer or the other Donovans in his life.
But now Hannah has called, and all the memories, bad and good, come rushing back.
Archer was the strong, silent type in the previous books, and in this one, he gets his story.

Perhaps you think Hannah and Archer cold: Len has been dead a few days only, and they begin an affair. But that marriage hasn’t been a real marriage for at least seven years, and Hannah stopped loving Len long before that. When he was glad she miscarried, and almost died. He never wanted children, and Hannah loves children. But she never wants to expose a child to Len’s brutal coldness. The attraction between Archer and Hannah is something Hannah has never felt before, with any man. And what he makes her feel when they are making love, is extraordinary. And she knows the difference between sex and making love, because when she turns him down, and tells him she only wants protection and sex from him, he sure shows her the difference, and she regrets it bitterly.

The suspense part of the story is equally strong: I never did guess the whole truth. And like in the other books, you learn more about pearls then you ever wanted to know, but it is all interesting, and adds to the story. Of course there is also politics, and I am curious to know if that has changed in those years, or still applies.

9 stars.

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