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Topaz Eyes Book Review

by Kathleen Lance

Synopsis

In Topaz Eyes a mysterious invitation to a gallery opening brings Keira Drummond back to Heidelberg, Germany where she meets Teun Zeger, an American of Dutch ancestry; Zaan De Raad, a Dutch antiques dealer; and Jensen Amsel, their host. Amsel, a dealer in fine jewelry, is searching for the fabled Tiru Salana jewels, brought from India and passed from mother to daughter in Teun's and Zaan's family.

A developing romance between Keira and Teun leads them to join forces in their search for the jewels. Their quest takes them from Heidelberg to the US and back to Europe, to Vienna Edinburgh, and Amsterdam. But they are not alone on their travels. Followed by nameless thugs, never knowing who to trust, frightened for their families, Keira and Teun search for the lost treasure of the Tiru jewels.

Theme of the Book

A combination of romance and mystery, Topaz Eyes delves into the past and into the family relationships that link the characters together. The actions of their ancestors bring both danger and love to the characters involved in the hunt for the jewels. The stories of the past do have an effect on the present.

What I Liked About the Story

Topaz Eyes presents a new and different approach to mystery writing. Tying the present day efforts of the main characters to solve a puzzle with the actions of their ancestors shows that we can never really escape the past. The author has created not just an interesting set of protagonists, but a whole family tree as well. Readers will enjoy the adventures of Keira and Teun while learning about the struggles and triumphs of previous generations.

The author has created a real sense of tension and suspense in Topaz Eyes. Although the reader knows that Keira and Teun are being followed, there is no indication until quite late in the book of who is paying the thugs that both follow and threaten. There is always a feeling of danger not only for our main characters but for their families as well. Without including graphic violence, the author has made the story exciting enough for readers to keep turning pages.

Fans of romance novels will also enjoy the developing relationship between Keira and Teun. There are no surprises in this aspect of the story, but the romantic arc is well developed and well written.

Readers will also enjoy the travelogue through Europe and through Minnesota, particularly Duluth. The author has included plenty of detail so that readers who have been to the European cities she writes about will recognize favorite landmarks and readers who have not had the chance to visit these cities will get a wonderful introduction to them.

What I Didn’t Like About the Story

As is often the case in romance novels, the two characters in Topaz Eyes, Keira and Teun, seem to have terrible communications skills. I will never understand why the two people involved in romantic relationships have such trouble talking to one another. Why is Keira, who is independent, intelligent and well-traveled, so insecure and naïve when it comes to Teun? This aspect of Keira's character felt false or at least unrealistic to me.

The ending of Topaz Eyes seems forced. In a mystery novel, the villains should not be introduced at the end of the story. When that happens, it feels like the author just wanted to finish the book. A good mystery should have hints for the reader so that each reader has a chance to solve the mystery while reading.

Finally, there were some odd cases of language use. The author likes the verb "smirk" and it is definitely overused. I had never seen a case of "eyebrows wincing" and had never heard of a situation described as a "facedown". Face off or stand off? Yes. Facedown? Never.

Final Say

The premise of Topaz Eyes is good: a family saga/mystery/romance has elements that will appeal to a wide audience. The book is quite a fast and easy read and although there are hints at sex and violence, nothing is ever graphic. True mystery fans will see the potential the author has to write in this genre and fans of romance will enjoy the banter between Keira and Teun.