Book Review: "The Jewel of His Heart" by Maggie Brendan

Set in 1890s Montana, The Jewel of His Heart finds Juliana drawn to a handsome, gentle sheepherder--but sparks fly when he considers mining, the occupation that lured her father away from his family. Both Josh and Juliana must make a choice--the world's riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.

To me in this type of historical fiction, the actual "historical" part seems to take a backseat to the rest of the story. Other than the obvious details, this story could have very well taken place in a modern day setting with the same results. The historical setting just takes the reader back to a simpler time where life was harder and situations such as this were more cherished. Juliana is a young woman, who due to the death of her mother, has to take her life into her own hands and lands a job in a newspaper office. From there, she discovers more about life around the town and it helps to fuel her relationship with Josh. It was fun seeing the going-ons about the town and seeing what life was for like people back then. Juliana's relationship with Marion is interesting because it seems like they might not really be as close friends as they thought. It would be interesting to see a book from her perspective.

While I enjoyed this book, I did feel a bit annoyed at times with Juliana and Josh. I didn't really feel that much chemistry between them. What chemistry they did have seemed to come from a lot of unnecessary drama. It just seemed to me that several situations could have been totally avoided if the two had just sat down and talked and listened to the other. Instead, too many assumptions were made by both parties, causing friction and anger. There wasn't really another storyline that rivaled Juliana and Josh's. Their relationship was the central point of the book.
Even though this book is the second in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. There are some references to the first book, but overall the characters don't really interact so if you haven't read the first book, you won't get lost at all.

Overall, I did enjoy the book and I'll be looking forward to the next book in the series. One more note, I absolutely love the color scheme of the cover of the book. The blues and greens are just gorgeous. You can't see the back of the book here, but it's just the loveliest shade of turquoise.

The Jewel of His Heart by Maggie Brendan is published by Revell (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


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