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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fifty-Eight Faces by Kat Duncan

Fifty-Eight Faces by Kat Duncan
Jewel of the Night
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by: Poinsettia

Chief of surgery at a small children's hospital, Caroline's last hope to save it from financial ruin evaporates when she loses the Blue Diamond case to greedy Evan Quinn. When Evan buys the hospital property for high profit condo conversion, Caroline's hatred shifts into full red-alert.

But Evan is not her real enemy. Rolf, the hospital's chief administrator, has had his eye on the blue diamond since he learned of it from his Nazi grandfather. To be the 58th face to possess the Blue Diamond, one for each of its facets, grants the owner unlimited power. Rolf plans to kill the current owners and use the diamond to build his Neo-Nazi regime. Can Caroline give up her hatred and Evan his greed before Rolf kills them both?

Is the blue diamond a blessing or a curse? Can two lifelong enemies put their differences aside long enough to find out?

Ms. Duncan did a great job of setting up the tension between the Simmons and Quinn families. Whenever Caroline Simmons and Evan Quinn were in the same room, the hatred was so thick and heavy in the air it was stifling. Immediately, I was drawn into the conflict and even found myself siding with the Simmons family. Caroline’s family seemed to want the blue diamond for noble reasons while the Quinn family seemed only to care about money.

Just when the dynamics between Caroline and Evan seem set, everything changes. Caroline and Evan find themselves suspected of committing murder and on the run from the police. Rolf, a once trusted employee, has orchestrated the fall of the hospital and plans to murder Caroline and Evan as well. When Caroline and Evan first team up, the truce between them is uneasy, but I enjoyed watching them learn to trust each other. I wondered if Evan and Caroline would put their differences aside for good, or if they would go back to hating each other once the crisis they faced was over. I turned each page anticipating an answer.

Caroline was a very easy heroine to like. Her motives for wanting the diamond were so noble. She simply wanted to save the children’s hospital. It was heartbreaking watching her on the brink of losing everything she cared about. Despite the odds, Caroline never gave up hope in saving the hospital. I admired her perseverance and devotion to the children at the hospital. Caroline was not without her faults, though. Her blind hatred of Evan and his family were clearly her weak spot. She had been taught to hate Evan, but never really took the time to get to know him. Holding on to the family feud nearly cost her everything. I enjoyed watching Caroline grow as a character and gradually let go of her hate.

My first impression of Evan was that he was a greedy, cold, and distant man. However, like Caroline, I was pleased to discover that there is much more to Evan than first meets the eye. Evan and his family have always viewed the blue diamond as a burden and feel it is their duty to protect others from its evil influence. Evan cares for Caroline, but isn’t sure that she’ll ever accept him. Despite his tender feelings for her, he is reluctant to trust her completely. Again, I have to say it was a pleasure watching Evan and Caroline gradually learn to trust each other.

As much as I liked Caroline and Evan, their happy ending felt a little forced. By the end of the story, they’d been through a lot together, and they had great chemistry. However, the story ends with a grand gesture that didn’t fit with the sort of relationship that had been depicted between them. After a lifetime of hatred, I expected Caroline and Evan to take things a bit more slowly.

In addition to having interesting characters, Fifty-Eight Faces was full of suspense. When Caroline and Evan found themselves on the run, I was on the edge of my seat. I felt that Rolf or the police were just around the corner and would discover them at any moment. There was also a particular scene involving an old bridge that was absolutely spine tingling.

Once I started reading Fifty-Eight Faces, I couldn’t put it down. Caroline and Evan always seemed to be on the edge of disaster. I had to know how it would all end. Anyone looking for a romance loaded with suspense will definitely want to check out Fifty-Eight Faces.