Date Published: March 29, 2013
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporay Romance
Book Source: I received this book for free from Bookfun.org for my honest review.
Emerald Fire and Topaz Heat, the complete contemporary Christian romance novels and Books 2 and 3 of the critically acclaimed Jewel Trilogy are bundled together for the first time ever exclusively on Amazon. This is the complete story of Maxine Bartlett and Sarah Thomas, the two younger of the three half-sisters readers around the world have come to know and adore. These are stories of redemption and transformation that ultimately lead to the kind of love that will span all eternity.
In Emerald Fire, beautiful and vivacious Maxine finally finds a love that will release her from the prison of her terrifying past. But, will her new husband’s mistrust of God stand in the way of their happily ever after?
In Topaz Heat, readers are reintroduced to a grown up Derrick DeNunzio. Derek was a poor tough street kid made into a billionaire’s protégé and groomed for wealth and success. From the moment Derrick first met Sarah he knew he had found his reason to live. Sarah saw only an unshaven tough kid covered with tattoos and shut down every advance. A decade later, will Sarah finally set aside her prejudices and open her heart to true love?
You can purchase it Here:
Deeper Shopping * Barnes & Noble * Amazon * BAM
Hallee Bridgeman lives with her husband and their three children in small town Kentucky. When she’s not writing Christian romance novels (hallee.bridgemanfamily.com), she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker (halleethehomemaker.com).
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 presented to you now. 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. She prays her books are a blessing to you and would love to hear back from you. You can reach Hallee by using the contact information on her websites.
You can find Hallee Here:
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Maxine “Maxi” Bartlett has lived her life trying to forget the past. Growing up with a heroine addict for a mother who pimped herself out for drugs was rough but even more devestating was the sexual abuse at the hands of the men her mother associated with. Her memories were cold, dark and mentally exhausting but her art was beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. She used her painting to forget, to drown out the memories. Just as she used sports as a way to spend time with her best friend, Barry Anderson. Maxine has known Barry for several years having met him through her brother-in-law Tony. The only problem is Barry has been married for eighteen years to his college sweetheart Jaqueline. When tragedy strikes, Maxine only wants to show her support and be a comfort to Barry but what starts out as comforting a friend soon opens Maxine’s eyes to her true feelings for Barry. But will Barry’s sudden lack of trust in God come between them?
Barry Anderson has known for quite some time that his marriage isn’t what it should be. Although he has prayed for years that his wife will have a change of heart things continue to go sour. When Jaqueline dies suddenly, Barry turns away from God and runs straight to his best friend, Maxine Bartlett. Maxine has been his saving Grace for years. When his wife turned away from him it was Maxine he spent time with but it was only after his wife’s death that he began to realize his feelings for Maxine. Barry is afraid, afraid that his prayers might bring harm Maxine like they brought harm to his wife so he pushes Maxine away. But will more tragedy bring him back to Maxine and the God he so loves or will it drive them apart forever?
I loved Maxine’s character. She was perky and upbeat but underneath she was hurting and afraid. She was living with sexual abuse and I loved that she had an outlet in her painting. Like her older sister Robin from book one, she is very loyal and protective of those she loves. She struggled with her Faith, having never felt a true kinship with God, but, in the end, she came to love him fully and I think that is an issue we have all faced in our past. Likewise with Barry. He struggled with his trust in God. I loved that Barry was so loyal to his wife even after numerous transgressions on her part. He prayed regularly that God would help her love him again. I thought that showed a beautiful side to Barry’s character. He had a hard time coming to terms with his love for Maxine but, when he did, he jumped in with both feet. It was so amazing the way he took care of her even at her worst.
I thought Emerald Fire was a beautiful compliment to book one in the series and I have to admit I was excited to visit the characters once again. I wasn’t disappointed because Miss Hallee delivered book two with a true God-given talent for the written word. The characters were so true-to-life and faced real challenges and disappointments that everyone can relate to in some way. A personal relationship with God is at the forefront of their lives and they blend it beautifully with their personal lives as well. They turn to God in EVERY situation but, at the same time, the spiritual aspect is not overly done. I loved the relationship between Maxine and Barry even though I sometimes wanted to shake him a bit. I also think he handled Maxine and her memories of her past with a tenderness and caring that I found amazing. Emerald Fire is fictional romance at it’s BEST!
Sarah Thomas had despised Derrick DeNunzio since the first day she met him in her brother-in-law’s kitchen standing shirtless over an uneaten tuna sandwich. The street kid with the chocolate brown eyes and the sharp tongue made her blood boil. When he moved away it was alright with Sarah. She didn’t even realize she missed him… Until he came back. After six years in New York she had managed to suppress the feelings Derrick stirred to life in her. Her adoptive parents had high standards and Sarah did everything in her power to uphold her squeaky clean image for their sake. Derrick went against everything she tried maintain and, for that reason alone, she did all she could to push him away. But when her car won’t start it’s Derrick that comes to her aid. When her father passes away its Derrick face she is most happy to see at the funeral. When her memories from the past begin to resurface its Derrick who is there to comfort her. When had he become such an important part of her life and just when had Sarah come to love him so much?
Derrick DeNunzio had left his past behind at the age of eighteen. Living on the streets and stealing to survive wasn’t a life he wanted or even wanted to remember. He owed his very life to Tony Viscolli. Tony brought him in off the streets, sent him to college, gave him a job welcomed him into his home. That first night was the night he met Sarah Thomas. Little pixie Sarah with the red, curly hair and pale skin moved into Derrick’s heart the very first time they met. He loved her then and, after six years separation, he loves her still. Derrick has prayed daily that Sarah will return his feelings and, just when he is making progress, his past comes back to haunt him. Will they have a future together or will a confrontation with a ghost from his past bring it to an end?
With their Faith in God and their love for each other, they meet their challenges head-on surrounded by the love of God and family.
I have to say, I loved Sarah’s character. Even though she was small in stature she faced the challenges that came her way like David faced Goliath. She was strong when needed and resented that everyone insisted on treating her like a child even though she was almost thirty. She had a brave spirit and was level headed in a crisis. She made me smile when she stood up for herself and finally put her mother in her place. But the thing I loved most about Sarah was the way she loved. God, family, friends and, in the end, Derrick. No one was untouched by her deep abiding love.
Derrick was a true hero. He survived life on the streets, cleaned up his act and made something of himself. I fell in love with Derrick’s character a little more with the turn of each page. The tough street kid had a heart of gold and continued to rescue Sarah all the way to the end. His undying love was a beautiful thing and, I have to admit, I had been rooting for him since he was introduced in book one of the series.
In my opinion, the books in this series just got better and better as they went along. The final book, Topaz Heat, was by far my favorite. I loved the main characters in this book the most I think. The way they came together to face their challenges, turned to God to handle their every need and the way they separated themselves from each other only to be brought back together in the end. It was a journey I thoroughly enjoyed. Anyone that knows me knows my heart is in historical fiction but I have to admit that this is the best series I have ever read… PERIOD. Although each book can be read as a stand alone, I encourage you to start with book one and follow through to the end. I guarantee you won’t have a problem following through!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the The Book Club Network for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone and I received no monetary compensation.
Click to Tweet: Will The Two Remaining Jewels Of Boston Finally Find True Love?”