Sunday, May 8, 2016

Series End Review: Donovans, Pearls, and Rubies

Donovan series
by Elizabeth Lowell
Book #3: Pearl Cove | Goodreads | Rating:  3.0 Stars
Book #4: Midnight In Ruby Bayou | Goodreads | Rating:  2.5 Stars

See Also Previously Posted Reviews for:

Overall Series Average Rating:  3.1

It's been a while since I finished reading this series, but the main thing that stuck out in my mind are two things:
  • These books are addictive, well-written, and readily likable depending on the characters.
  • These books are formulaic, predictable, and easily irritable because they sometimes lack a solid story outline and structure.

That's pretty much an Elizabeth Lowell book in a nutshell.  Well, not necessarily in a nutshell.  There are a lot more things going on in Elizabeth Lowell's romantic suspense novels than I might give them credit for.  But there's a certain pattern and predictability to these books that one cannot help noticing.  And, as stated above, the books are highly predictable even amidst the chaos that makes you realize you're not sure where the story is trying to take you.

The predictable parts are simply Ms. Lowell's penchant for creating a lot of chaos in what SHOULD be a story and sticking a bunch of stock standard, but easily likable characters into her messes of stories.

But to be totally honest, at the end of the day, I still end up liking these books if only BECAUSE I find the writing witty and fun and the characters readily likable.  It's that simple.  Because sometimes you just need simple.

It doesn't matter that the characters created in Pearl Cove are slightly different than those in Midnight.  It doesn't matter that we are dealing with a different type of precious gem, or that one set of couple involves a woman who is more headstrong and capable than the couple in the other book.  In the end, the arguments are practically the same and the men are glaring carbon copies of each other:  moody and broody, gorgeous and perfect, cynical as hell... cavemen in Armani suits.

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 Pear 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...its memories of living on the dark side, the soul-numbing certainty that there was no law, no justice, no mercy; just hunters and the hunted. That life taught him to trust no 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.

Faith Donovan is famous for crafting exquisite jewelry studded with fabulous gems. But the dangerous task of acquiring the rare rubies she needs for her art has taught Faith to be wary of anyone outside her own family -- especially someone like Owen Walker, an adventurer with an intimate knowledge of the ruby trade and man's murderous greed.

But now necessity has thrown the two together, as they venture into the shadowy world of the wealthy and mysterious Montegeaus in search of quality stones. A powerful Georgia clan descended from pirates, the Montegeaus are said to possess a staggering fortune in gems, hidden for generations in the legendary Blessing Chest.

In the living shadows of historic Ruby Bayou, Faith and Walker are soon drawn into a terrifying web of corruption and betrayal, and haunted by the dark, unfolding secrets of the Montegeaus past and present. For there are those who would kill for the contents of the Blessing Chest.

And now two outsiders who have learned too much stand in the way...

I didn't write a review when I first finished reading this series because I had really run out of things to say about the repetitiveness of each book as the series progressed.  I would just be repeating myself over and over again:  Beautiful-but-doesn't-know-it woman meets beautiful-but-doesn't-believe-it man--suspense, sex, angst, and lots of brooding ensue.  Oh, yes, and some history lessons here and there, which are actually quite intriguing.

Nonetheless, I still find myself reaching for Elizabeth Lowell books anyway.  They're fun and exciting and sexy, and despite the rather formulaic and predictable romances, the suspense portions are quite riveting, even when chaotic.

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