Touch of a Thief by Mia Marlowe
Rating: R; 3 1/2 stars
Summary: Lady Viola Preston is odd for a jewel thief on multiple counts. First, she's female, and titled at that! Second, when Viola touches a gem, she hears it speaking to her. If she lets herself, jewels draw her into visions of what has happened in their history. As interesting a gift as this is, it is also rather painful. After all, admitting to such a thing in Victorian England could find Viola committed.
Greydon Quinn's problems are more of a political nature. After spending time in India, he is trying to stop a dangerous rebellion from some unhappy Indians. His method? Locating a priceless jewel that was stolen from an Indian temple and returning it to its rightful resting place. Lucky for Quinn, he has Viola Preston by his side. Of course, no one said that trying to steal a gem like this was simple, and he hadn't counted on the Mayfair Jewel Thief to be female!
Opinions: I checked out this book because of the interesting premise. I knew that it was a romance novel, but I hoped (somewhat naively, I might add) that it wouldn't be an explicit romance novel. I was wrong, very wrong. This novel isn't as graphic as some, but it is definitely, well, steamy. That being said, it was the plot and characters that had me going through this book so quickly. I read close to half of it in one sitting, and finished the whole book in like 2 1/2 days.
The concept of being able to “hear” gems simply by touching them intrigued me. This isn't an ability that is common; I certainly haven't read another book that so much as mentioned it. Considering a great deal of what I read is fantasy (or at least, stories with fantastic elements), it is rare that I come across something that I really haven't seen before. This was one of those things. So concept is what brought me to the book, what got me to start reading. But, what kept me reading was definitely the plot and characters.
The plot had a sufficient amount of mystery to keep me guessing at what would happen. The mystery didn't overwhelm the definitely-romance feel of the book, but it did make me feel like I was reading more than just a love story, something with a little bit more meat. I also have to admit my love for/obsession with India was a key selling point for me. Although most of the novel did not take place in India, the entire work was touched with just a bit of India. And it was wonderful.
I also really liked the characters. I felt like they were well-developed; they all had their secrets and motivations. I also liked how all the characters played off each other, especially the main two, Viola and Quinn. Their dynamic was just really interesting, and it was fun to watch it develop. They had several misunderstandings, that I've come to understand are staples of romance, but not so many that it felt like a rom-com (I hate romantic comedies. My reaction to them is “Argh, why won't you just own up to your feelings and tell the truth!). For the most part, everything felt realistic to the time-frame. I mean, it's a romance, so certain...familiarities were played with much sooner than would happen in real life (I hope...), but nothing was so ridiculous that I was unable to suspend disbelief.
In general, this was a very light read (as romances often are). It's a perfect beach read, although now that summer is ending, maybe it's better suited for overstressed college students. :) This is definitely for an older crowd—there are definitely books out there that are more sexually explicit, but this is far more than YA-explicitness. Still, this is an enjoyable book for anyone that is partial to romances, historical fiction, or fantasy. In my opinion, those that read adult historical fiction and fantasy will see nothing out of the ordinary in the sexual content, but others may disagree.