Review: Greater Than Rubies by Hallee Bridgeman
Robin Bartlett said, “Yes!” Will she say, “I do,” when the big day arrives?
From his cultured handsome looks to his vast fortune, Antonio “Tony” Viscolli is every red-blooded American girl’s dream match. It doesn’t hurt that he completely loves and adores Robin with all his heart and soul from practically the moment they first meet. Robin comes from a blistering past, struggling and fighting for the survival of herself and her two younger half-sisters in a cold, cruel world. By the time Tony thaws her heart, she has known hunger, poverty, violence, and want. Robin never had a chance to dream of a white wedding gown or a prince charming. Instead, her dreams were nightmares dark and clouded with fear and desperation.
For months, Tony courted the blond beauty with the sapphire eyes. He teased Robin and pursued her. He showered with attention, respect, and charm. He covered her in diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Tony satisfied every heart’s desire. Finally, Robin came to understand God’s love for her as imitated by the unconditional love Tony freely offered. Then, on a sunny Florida beach, Tony proposed and Robin eagerly said “Yes!”
Back in bitter cold Boston, doubts about becoming a billionaire’s bride begin to crowd out her hopes for happiness. Robin worked for tips until just a few months before Tony proposed on that sunny stretch of sand. In fact, she waited his table less than half a year earlier. Having no experience facing these challenges, Robin struggles to cope feeling the pressures of relocating; of unreliable transportation; of the never-ending details of the shower, the ceremony, the reception, the honeymoon; of worries that her sisters will smoothly transition along with her; of changing her name; all while dealing with her father’s very serious legal problems.
As the date draws inexorably near and the pressure mounts, Robin begins to grasp the scale of her fiancé’s vast material wealth and holdings, the responsibilities of the virtual empire he commands. She witnesses his generosity when he takes on a young protégé straight from the tough South Boston streets.
Ultimately, Robin questions whether she is truly the girl of Tony’s dreams. Is she the woman God has made for him? In taking her on as a wife, would she act as helpmeet or poison apple? In truly loving Tony, would it be better to bind herself to him for all eternity or return his freedom? When her nightmares return in full force, they remind Robin of an even deeper and more terrifying prospect. Will she give in to her insecurities and cancel Boston’s “Royal Wedding” for good? Or, with God’s guidance, will Tony sacrifice everything to prove to his beloved Robin her true worth?
Remember what I saw in my last post about Robin growing onto me the more I read Sapphire Ice? Well, midway through reading Greater Than Rubies, I was more than prepared to retract that statement. Was I mad when she made the choice to let her fears dictate her life? Yes, definitely. It took me awhile to get past my annoyance and see that while most brides get wedding jitters, Robin’s fears goes farther than just wedding jitters. I also realized that while most brides get wedding jitters, Robin’s is somewhat different as she is marrying a famous industry magnate, the cream of the crop, so to speak.
Greater Than Rubies is the sequel to Sapphire Ice. There are the same characters, but the major difference is that now, Robin is engaged to Tony. While they still face problems similar to the problems they faced in Sapphire Ice, in this sequel, they learn to face them and make the decision whether to conquer or submit to them.
While everything was in the third point-of-view throughout the book, there were gaps when the third point-of-view did not sufficiently illustrate and describe a character’s thoughts. For example, although Robin’s fears were portrayed in a realistic manner and I could grasp the enormity of them just based on the descriptions of her emotions and thoughts, it wasn’t so when she made her final decision. I wanted to know what she was thinking, what was going through her mind when she made her decision and gave her conditions, but unfortunately, readers weren’t given that view.
“Now, when your life ends, when everything you owned in life gets put back in the box, you will suddenly find yourself on the outside of the box standing in front of that very same God who made you, and you will have to explain the choices you made while you played the game.”
The more I get to know Tony’s character, the more I like him. It’s easy to see why Robin fell in love with him! For him, a billionaire, to trust a homeless teenage guy, clothe him, and bring him into his home, that takes a lot and speaks volumes about Tony’s character. Being a philanthropist like many rich people are nowadays is one thing, walking the talk and actively participating in changing a life of a person is another.
I liked the way a major problem is suddenly thrown into the story more than halfway through it. Of course, it’ll be great if there was a plot twist earlier, but better late than never, right? The pace of the story in the first half lulls you into a false sense of security (that is, if you didn’t read the story’s blurb before reading the story) and then suddenly throws a big obstacle right out of nowhere. It makes you wonder if the story will have a happily ever after ending or a sad ending.
Conclusion: The story is more or less evenly paced. It gives us a peak into what it’s like to have wedding jitters. Like in the previous book, there are parts where conversations are little “preachy”. Despite that, there are some real lessons to be garnered from reading Greater Than Rubies.
Hallee Bridgeman lives with her husband and their three children in small town Kentucky. When she’s not writing Christian romance novels, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker. Hallee started writing when her oldest child and only daughter was a baby, but a busy professional career and being the wife of a deployed soldier had her shelve her books for another time. Two more children, a cross country move, and God’s perfect timing brought the books off of the shelf to be dusted off and published. Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit. Visit her website at www.bridemanfamily.com/hallee.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through The Book Club Network review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”