Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Summer Reading 2022: Gilt by Jamie Brenner


I discovered Jamie Brenner last summer when a book came across my desk at the library that featured a family vineyard and Jackie Collins novels. So of course I had to read it, and Blush was an unexpected surprise. You can read my review from last year here.  

Jamie returns this summer with Gilt, and I enjoyed this just as much. Centered around a family jewelry store in Manhattan, this is the tale of three sisters, one niece, a pink diamond engagement ring, and a family curse. 

The Pavlin family has been in the jewelry business for over a hundred years, and their famous store in Manhattan was the first to market diamond rings as engagement rings. They've ridden that marketing high for decades, but now Elodie, the great granddaughter of the founder of the company, knows the store is in trouble. People don't want to shop for jewelry in a store; they can buy online. Jewelry isn't what it used to be, and the store is in the red. Elodie's only way out is to have a big splashy auction to sell famous family jewelry pieces.

Only problem is she needs the okay of her surviving sister Celeste and her niece Gemma. 

Celeste lives in Provincetown and left the family decades ago. She owns an antique shop and lives with her love, Jack. Gemma's mother, Paulina, was the famous "it" girl of the 1990's; her beauty and endless travels around the world kept the Pavlin family in the news, and business was good. Her tragic death, along with her handsome husband, left Gemma without parents and being raised by her other grandparents, the Maybrooks. She has always felt resentment for the Pavlin family because they seemingly ignored her existence. 

Now Gemma is an adult and aspiring jewelry designer. She wants the one thing she was promised: the infamous Electric Rose diamond engagement ring her mother promised to her. That ring caused a huge rift between the three sisters: Elodie, Celeste, and Paulina. 

Elodie has her work cut out for her, and heads to Provincetown to convince Celeste to sign the papers approving the auction. Gemma ends up in Provincetown to meet her Aunt Celeste and find out more about the whereabouts of the Electric Rose. 

It's a summer of complicated family issues; each woman has a lot to work through. It's a crossroads for them all; a chance to look at life and figure out where to go next. And in the center of it all is Gemma and her budding jewelry business. Her desire to have the Electric Rose ring is palpable. Not for money, but because it was the one thing she remembers her mother always wearing. But Elodie isn't saying where it is, and Gemma refuses to sign the auction papers until she has the ring. 

I dived into the novel pretty quickly, and got to know all the characters. Provincetown sounds like a pretty cool place to spend the summer. The tensions between the sisters and their niece are definitely well drawn out; the other side stories keep everything balanced and give some relief to the family drama. An  unexpected romance, another chance at a broken romance, and ooh--will Celeste finally marry Jack? 

This would, of course, make a really good Netflix movie. Perfect summer read. 

Rating: 4/6 for a novel about a family broken apart, with a chance to heal old wounds. Moving from New York City to Cape Cod this tale of three women reuniting to become family was very entertaining. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

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