Review: Diamond in the Rough by Jane Goodger

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve never read anything from Jane Goodger, including the two books before this one in the Brides of St. Ives series, but the premise of this story intrigued me enough that I wanted to give it a try. It’s a twist on a romance between a hero and heroine of different stations, which happens to be one of my favorite tropes.

Nathaniel is an impoverished Baron who is in search of a rare diamond his grandfather buried in St. Ives. The old man told him the story of the gem on his deathbed, but passed away before he could give more than the name of the property it was hidden. So Nathaniel decides to go undercover as a gardener at the home, hoping to find the lost rock and use it to put his lands back to rights.

Clara is one of the daughters who lives there. Her family is wealthy, though far from nobility. It’s her mother’s greatest wish for Clara to marry into the peerage, but even with all their money, it’s not very realistic. Blue bloods are so very disdainful of the lower class. Still, Clara tries to please her mother, even if in her heart, she wants nothing less than to surround herself with snobs.

The new gardener is the first man she’s ever felt aflutter over. And Nathaniel isn’t immune to her either. She thinks they can’t be together because of his lower station, but he fears his barony will end up pushing her away. So it’s a forbidden romance, as he secretly toils to find the diamond buried underground.

The book was… ok. It was a quick and easy read, and the story was exactly as promised. I just didn’t feel the longing between these two characters I had hoped for. Their friendship developed easily, but I wanted more angst… more need… more want than I got. I understood why Nathaniel did what he did, but I felt like there was untapped potential in his character. I would have liked him gruffer, maybe. Maybe some stark need in his eyes would have gone a long way. As it was, the push and pull was gentle. I wanted them both to ache. Of course, that’s not everyone’s preference, just mine.

There is a little intrigue about the diamond and another man searching for it–even a small subplot about an investigator who was also trying to solve his own family’s murder. But it felt tacked on, and the resolution way too easy and underwhelming.

I think I feel that way about the romance and, really, the entire book. Not bad, but a bit easy and underwhelming. If you prefer your romance a little lower on the angst-dial, maybe it would be a bigger hit for you.

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Diamond in the Rough
by Jane Goodger
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Lyrical Press

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