Amber Beach

Autumn Lover

Desert Rain

Forget Me Not

Jade Island

To the Ends of the Earth

Where The Heart Is

Winter Fire

Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell
(Avon, $24.00, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-97404-5
I am unabashedly an Elizabeth Lowell fan. Her characters are multidimensional and function in a tight plot structure, which is sustained by a high level of external and internal conflict. Cast in a steamy romantic setting, one can always count on learning something as well. In this novel, it is the pearl trade. Few authors can equal Lowell's originality.

Are all her characters loveable? Good grief no! And among the more despicable is Len McGarry. His emotional baggage early on had fractured his soul. When he became a paraplegic, his unfortunate personality became more embittered and savage. Easily, he taught his young wife, Hannah, to fear and to dislike him.

Hannah had eagerly escaped her missionary parents' life in the rain forests of Brazil to marry Len McGarry. In one leap, she left the tenth century to enter the twentieth. This was after Archer Donovan had located Len to tell him he was the illegitimate child of Archer's father, "The Donovan." Len wanted no part of the Donovan family and probably married Hannah because he perceived Archer was in love with her.

Ten years later, a cyclone ravages Pearl Cove, Australia, and Hannah finds her husband dead. It is convenient for all to believe he was killed by the storm, especially since he never met a man who didn't hate him. Lost as well is their entire inventory of black pearls. A major part of the McGarrys' pearl farm was experimental since Len was developing a black pearl that resembled an opal, with its fire and color.

Unknown by most and unmarketed, these black rainbow pearls were hoarded by Len while he was trying to create the perfect necklace. In his twisted mind he thought when he achieved that perfection, a miracle would restore the use of his legs. He had matched enough pearls to make the "Black Trinity" worth approximately three million dollars.

Hannah calls Archer for help when she realizes vulturistic competitors are beginning to circle believing she has the secret to the creation of these pearls, Since he is a silent partner in the pearl farm, she is hopeful he will come to Australia to protect his investment.

This is the third book featuring the Donovan family and their interest in precious gems. The Archer we met before was as hard-nosed and vicious as the US Intelligence Agencies could make him. Pearl Cove shows that he has a human side. Hannah is the woman he has loved silently for ten years.

The Donovan family joins the fray and the highway to redemption becomes a crowded place. Watching the very likeable Hannah humble the mighty Archer is especially satisfying.

If you have read Amber Beach and Jade Island, the other books in this series. Lowell again does not disappoint in her newest fast-paced, gritty, romantic suspense novel.

--Thea Davis

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