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REVIEW: All the Women in Pearl by Emily Ryan Davis

Dear Ms. Ryan-Davis:

9781419923814This is a book in which I loved the voice but didn’t love the execution of the story which means I’ll be on the look out for future books despite this one not working out for me.

John Raincrow has been dispatched by C.C. Carver’s family to bring her home which dovetails nicely with C.C.’s own desire to return home.   When C.C’s mother had had enough of the West, she left her sons and husband and took C.C. back east.   She remarried to a wealthy man and both died.   C.C., alone except for her stepfamily, determines that she’ll take her inheritance and return to her brothers in the West.

C.C. travels west in the company of her stepbrother and two others, all disreputable.   The story opens with C.C. and her traveling companions in a gambling establishment, working to cheat the house.   C.C. is dressed tartily and playing some kind of role in the grift.   John Raincrow finds C.C. here and “buys” her release from her group.

The workings of the plot are sound. C.C falls into the hands of an unscrupulous family and she must negotiate her time with them until she can get to her brothers in Pearl.   John Raincrow makes certain assumptions about C.C. based on her appearance and her company.

The problem is that the plot, in the execution, doesn’t stand up to the details.   C.C. is a wealthy woman, apparently in control of her own fortune.   She travels with the family out of choice, not compulsion.

John Raincrow is on his way to Trinidad to claim land of his own, a desire that burned fiercely for him.   Yet, later we find out that Raincrow has land already and the reasons he doesn’t feel like the other parcel is his own doesn’t quite match up because he didn’t have the funds to pay for the land outside of Trinidad but instead came to him as a result of a death of a friend.

The heart of the conflict is C.C. and John’s longings for each other.   They were connected before C.C. left and those feelings have remain unabated despite 10 years and geographic differences.   C.C. sees her opportunity to finally bring those unspoken feelings to a head but John is focused on leaving Pearl and thus cannot give into his own desires.

John’s justifications for needing to leave Pearl seemed weak to me (as did C.C’s predicament).   To some extent, I felt that these justifications and plot strategems were window dressing to create the right atmosphere to create tension.   I wanted more exploration of C.C.’s ten year absence from her family; whether that had any impact on her forming relationships; why she had no connection with any men back East.    Having said that, I did enjoy the voice and look forward to something perhaps longer from you in the future.   C

Best regards,

Jane

This novella can be purchased at Ellora’s Cave

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

9 Comments

  1. DS
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 14:14:40

    Those look like some serious manboobs on the cover. I assume that the character in the hat is male.

    ReplyReply

  2. Sandy James
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 14:42:49

    The cover bugged me, too. I hate cheesy covers, and a guy (with serious manboobs as DS points out) standing there in nothing but suspenders and a cowboy hat? Cheesy enough to be sold in a deli. (Yeah, yeah. Bad pun. Couldn’t help myself.) :-)

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  3. TeresaR
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 15:42:24

    that’s not even suspenders! It’s a whip wrapped around his shoulders that he’s hanging onto. Really bad cover for a really good author. Love her books.

    ReplyReply

  4. Scorched Sheets » Blogging Elsewhere Today / Also, a Review
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 16:24:59

    [...] today? Jane at Dear Author reviews ALL THE WOMEN IN PEARL and she likes my voice. [...]

  5. Emily Ryan-Davis
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 16:32:23

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on this novella. I appreciate the time and thought. Also, my apologies for the numerous pingbacks showing up in the comments thread – Sunday is website update day for me…and now the entire DA viewing audience knows it!

    ReplyReply

  6. Sandy James
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 16:55:53

    @Teresa

    that's not even suspenders! It's a whip wrapped around his shoulders that he's hanging onto. Really bad cover for a really good author. Love her books.

    See what happens when I’m not wearing my bifocals? Can’t even see the difference between a whip and suspenders. lol

    It’s probably not very nice of me to tease about the cover. I’ve been very lucky with coverart, but I’m sure someone out there hates my covers. I wish the author well and good sales. It’s great that Jane likes her voice so much. :-)

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  7. Jeannie Lin
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:53:22

    I’m a big fan of Emily Ryam Davis’ other works especially for her voice! I really want to read the prequel to this one first and then I’d definitely give this one a try.

    I agree on the cover though…not so much for the man boobs, which I think look not so bad. :) Just the suspenders with no shirt. What’s up with EC covers lately? I’ve read several of their books that I loved to death, but I would have passed if I hadn’t found them through review and blurbs because the covers weren’t appealing.

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  8. Kate Pearce
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 11:18:55

    I love her voice too :) This is definitely a case of don’t judge a book by its cover :)

    ReplyReply

  9. Roselia Vyas
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 23:00:56

    Great post, extremely informative, hopefully it’ll becoming a number of those lurkers out into the open.

    ReplyReply

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