What does it take to reveal the true beauty of a hidden gem?
Phoebe Von Bergen, the daughter of a German count, is excited to visit America for the first time while her father purchases sapphires in Helena, Montana. Little does she know, however, that her father’s intentions—both for her and the gemstones—are not what she thinks.
Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the dignified young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie—a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.
Meeting Ian has changed everything for Phoebe, and she begins to consider staying in America, regardless of her father’s plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger that results when her family’s deception begins to unravel.
A Beauty Refined is the second book in Tracie Peterson’s Sapphire Brides series, coming after A Treasure Concealed. Though I didn’t get a chance to read the first book in this series, I had heard both good and not-so-good things about it, so I was a little nervous when I picked up this novel. Especially since the last book I read by Tracie—A Steadfast Heart—definitely was not one of my favorites. However, I have liked some of Tracie’s other past novels, so I decided to give this one a chance, and I was only somewhat disappointed. It was definitely better than A Steadfast Heart, but I can’t say that I really enjoyed this one all that much either, as I skimmed quite a bit of it.
My first issue was with many of the scenes, especially at the beginning. While the story had much potential—in fact I really liked the plotline—so many of the scenes were slow, and I found myself bored and skimming them before I even realized it. There were quite a few fluffy parts that in my opinion could have been left out and would have made for a more enjoyable story. However, many of the other scenes were wonderful and I quickly read through them, although I absolutely hated to read the scenes written in Count Von Bergren’s perspective. He was far too slimy for me to enjoy reading anything he was thinking.
The next issue I had was with a few of the characters. While they were each wonderful in their own way, except Von Bergren of course, I had just a few issues with them, Ian and Phoebe’s mother in particular. At the beginning of the book, Ian comes off to me as a little bit of a baby. When everything begins to unravel and he is forced to play a part, his reluctance based on the grounds of his own painful past is just a little too much to be believable. While I understand his struggles were real and probably caused him a lot of hurt, I can’t imagine a strong, compassionate man such as himself would really have that much of an issue with lying for the safety of someone he cares about.
All in all however, I did like the ending, although some aspects were extremely unexpected. I suppose that’s a good thing though, since that means Tracie handled the element of surprise really well in that case. When it all boils down, I enjoyed the plotline, but I just wasn’t exactly fond of the way the story was told. Because of that, and the fact that I really skimmed my way through most of this novel, I unfortunately cannot give A Beauty Refined any more than three out of five bookshelves. But, I have read many other reviews of this novel, and not everyone is of the same opinion as me, so don’t let me keep you from giving this novel a try if you really want to, I just wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.
To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.
All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Tracie Peterson and Bethany House Publishing.