Review: Ecstasy Wears Emeralds by Renee Bernard

Ecstasy Wear EmeraldsMiss Gayle Renshaw is a desperate woman.  Her lifelong dream is to become a physician and while highly unconventional for a woman, she is ambitious and motivated to complete a successful apprenticeship with the hopes of being accepted to a university.  Arriving on Dr. Rowan West’s doorstep and forcing her way in, Gayle is determined to become said apprentice to the good doctor and is not opposed to using blackmail, if needed, to see that it happens.  Rowan agrees for her to stay, begins teaching her as he would a male apprentice, all the while hoping that he will break her mentally and physically in order to give up this unattainable dream.  Devoted to proving she has the disciplined mind necessary to be a doctor, she dismisses any attraction that she maybe developing for Rowan believing that there is no chance for any relationship between the two, beyond business.  Rowan soon discovers that Gayle is not the heartless, cold woman she initially presented and in fact may be stealing his heart.  But as their feelings develop into something beyond student-teacher, Rowan’s past returns to threaten not only their relationship, but also the lives of his dearest friends.

Sadly, Ecstasy in Emeralds lacked the luster, humor and emotional draw that Seduction Wears Sapphires delivered. In truth the story didn’t pull me in and was difficult to finish. Rowan presents himself as a very aloof and somber man.  His profession as a doctor consumes his life and he is really indifferent to anything else other than the occasional social visit with his closest male companions.  Gayle is an independent, shrewd woman determined to learn how to be a physician despite society’s view of women in the medical field and this is her sole purpose in forcing her way into Rowan’s life.

First, this couple just never clicked.  They presented drab personalities with little emotion.  I will go so far to say that Rowan was a true “wuss” when it came to standing up for himself or confronting his emotions which totally turned me off.  Both Rowan and Gayle initially tolerated each other in a business arrangement so when the feelings of attraction entered the story, it was forced and unbelievable.  Second, when they did establish a romantic involvement, it was less than satisfying do to their lack of chemistry as a couple. (I found myself wanting more of the secondary characters than the actual main couple.)  There were no memorable steamy encounters or heart fluttering moments that left a lasting impression as were in the prior book.  Finally, one of the most frustrating moments for me as a reader is when the author declares the “I love you” moment entirely too early in the book.  At page 113, after only one kiss prior, Gayle discovers she is falling in love with Rowan.  I was ready to throw the book against the wall at that point given what lack of action or emotion the two had shared.  I contemplated DNF at that state but like a trooper I carried on only to be irritated that I spent too much time finishing a book that never fully grabbed my interest.

Rating: F
Ecstasy Wears Emeralds by Renee Bernard
September 6th 2011 by Penguin Group
Historical Romance
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  1. says

    I used to love reading Renee when she first was published. But lately her books have been misses for me. I stopped reading this one within the first 5 pages.

    • says

      Katie- I saw where you DNFed it as I was reading it. I should have done the same. I honestly enjoyed the prior book in the series and was kind of shocked at the difference between how bad this one was as compared to Seduction Wears Sapphires. After this, I don’t plan on continuing the series.

  2. says

    How disappointing that both characters were hard to enjoy. At least with one interesting protagonist you would have had an easier time of it.

  3. says

    Great review, Amy! Haven’t read any books by this author, but I’m tempted to check out the previous one in the series. You said it was good?

    • says

      Yes! I really enjoyed Seduction Wears Sapphires (click on my review above). I just can’t get over how disappointing this one was compared to SWS!!!