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416 pages
Aug 2008
Bethany House

The Jewel Of Gresham Green: (The Gresham Chronicles #4)

by Lawana Blackwell

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The Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell is the story of Jewel Libby, a woman willing to risk both security and familiarity to protect her daughter. When a threat to her daughter emerges from the shadows of Birmingham, England, Jewel relocates them to the quiet town of Gresham. Yet, not all is tranquil in the quiet dairy village: the vicarís health is in jeopardy, his son is fighting for his sinking marriage, and the townís livelihood, the cheese factory, is poised to fall into the hands of an evil man. With little peace and tranquility in her own life, Jewel nevertheless struggles to bring it to those hurting around her.

The Jewel of Gresham Green is populated by a varied cast of characters. No two are alike. The main character, Jewel, is a strong, yet kind woman who exemplifies the peace a faith-filled woman can bring. Though Blackwellís characters are not particularly engaging, they are honest, showing their flaws as well as their charms. The relationships, largely familial, between the characters are believable and charming. The most touching of the bookís relationships is between the vicarís son and his aloof wife. Their marital struggles and disappointments are touchingly honest as they reveal the importance of commitment.

Blackwell does a good job of providing the reader with many and varied plotlines within one novel. Her side characters are given generous page-time, creating the cozy, small-town feel one would expect to characterize a dairy village.

Each of The Jewelís plot threads is tidily concluded at the novelís close. Blackwell even throws the reader an unexpected twist, redeeming what seems an unavoidable injustice. Sadly, however, one of the novelís most promising romances seems rather forced.

The Jewel of Gresham Green is commendable for the gentle way it approaches adult themes through skillful implication rather than explicit description. The Christian message in the novel is not a pointed one, but permeates the entire book through the actions and faith of its Christian characters. The theme of Godís saving power in difficult situations is particularly displayed. Christís providential ordering of events brings peace to even the most difficult of the bookís conflicts.

Overall, The Jewel of Gresham Green is a novel with little to criticize or extol. It is a pleasant story, with its strongest points are the variety of its characters and the quick pace with which Blackwell tells her story. She also sets a beautiful scene and defines her characters through their actions rather than lengthy descriptions. This book is a good choice for those seeking a casual and comfortable read. -- Lauren M. Peltier,

Book Jacket:

To protect her precious daughter from the danger nipping at their heels, Jewel Libby must flee the only home she's ever known. Caring friends direct her to the vicarage in the peaceful dairy village of Gresham, but she arrives there to find Vicar Andrew Phelps and his wife immersed in troubles of their own. Their son Philip, a successful London surgeon, has a controlling wife who resents his close family ties. And daughter Aleda lives in a cottage on the outskirts of Gresham, where she adamantly pursues her writing career and her solitude... often to the exclusion of others.

When Andrew becomes ill and in need of his son's skills, and Aleda's quest for privacy unwittingly advances an evil man's schemes, Jewel finds the tables turned... she is the one offering support and a source of strength. But an unlikely romance is about to change everything...