About the Book:
- The Jewel Box
- by Michelle McCarty
- Genres: Contemporary
- Pages: 314
- Publication: March 13th 2013 by Createspace
- Received from: C. Michelle McCarty for an honest review
- Rating: 3.5/5
Back in the Sixties while Motown music filled the airwaves, naïve Jill Novak acknowledged her knack for choosing losers when boring Husband Number One vanished, leaving her to support their two-year-old. Afflicted with planning deficit disorder, the perpetual daydreamer soon morphs from small town Jill to sophisticated big city Cherie, but a new name does not a new life bring. In 1969 Houston, Cherie encounters a rogue’s gallery of strange, wonderful and sometimes dangerous characters; a suave salesman who turns brutal, a drop-dead gorgeous transsexual, a hairy cop who incorporates fondling girls into his job, a walleyed girl whose peepers inevitably park on men’s private parts, a wannabe Mafia hit man, and a warped neighbor whose desire for friendship borders on stalking. But it is two distinctly different men—a middle-age gregarious gambler and a twenty-something gruff intellectual—who jump on board and share Jill-Cherie’s rollicking roller coaster ride into the 21st Century and womanhood.
Filled with moments from the laid-back Age of Aquarius through the materialistic, high-speed Internet era, The Jewel Box music and references to the times/political climate reflect the rocky terrain of the country (and subsequent growth) parallel with that of its main character. This romantic family saga reminds us true love rarely runs smooth, true friendship never wavers, occasionally everyone screws up, and sometimes slipping off track leads to profound appreciation as we approach our destination.
This is so hard for me to review. I was on the fence once I started reading about if I wanted to continue. But it was more of a me thing than an author thing. I enjoyed how Michelle makes you want to read even though my mind kept wanting to be bored. This is a little bit longer than my average read but it felt a lot longer. Kindle and their dang 5000! But every time I went to put this down something would happen and I would read another chapter or two and keep with it. And I wound up being very glad that I did.
Maybe it’s the fact that this is so similar to real life and I enjoy being in a book where you forget about the hardships of life. This is about the hardships and life. There is so much that Jill goes through that I just wanted to curl into a ball and cry for her. But this girl is smart and once she starts getting out from under the influence of really bad people she starts to blossom, which I really enjoyed reading. Being human, she definitely still makes some foibles but she always grows from them which I always enjoy seeing.
And while you’re getting to know Jill’s story there are secondary characters that are just amazing. I fell in love with Beau from the second he was introduced. This guy needs to be around in real life for everyone! You ever have a book boyfriend? Beau is a book guru that needs to come to life. He always has the best advice, even if Jill doesn’t use it!
So, all in all it was a really interesting read. Even though my brain was trying to work against it. Michelle’s writing and character development are simply amazing. Even if you don’t like the characters you can see where they are coming from.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, romance with a trueness to the atmosphere, which I have to say is so nice compared to the love at first sight plots, try this one on for size. You may be surprised!
Oh… one final note. I don’t love the cover. I nearly turned this down because of it. But even if you’re like me and are a cover whore, go with it anyway. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.