One of my favorite things about book blogging is virtually “meeting” bloggers and authors who share a similar passion for story. Another one of my favorite things is seeing the success of bloggers-turned-authors –whether through a major or small publisher, or those who brave self-publishing. Rachelle Rea is one such author braving the market through a smaller publishing house. Her debut novel, The Sound of Diamonds, deserves a shout from the rooftops to spread the beauty of her story (and humble talent) to the world! 🙂 I’m thrilled to be sharing my review and an interview with Rachelle today!
Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.
With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle’s castle. She doesn’t dare to trust him…and yet doesn’t dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.
Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?
The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope…or be overcome.
Rachelle writes first person point of view with major skills. It’s something that can be tricky for an author to pull off!!!! Sometimes, a character can come off self-centered, but that is not the case with Gwyn and Dirk. I can see why Rachelle chose to tackle that format for this series. A shift in perspective between Dirk and Gwyn each chapter added additional interest and made the journey very personal and relatable. It also caused the action scenes to be more dramatic because you’re experiencing them through the eyes of one person at a time.
The mystery surrounding the connection Dirk and Gwyn have –the source of her hostility and his determination to prove honorable — was expertly revealed. I was anxious to know just what drove Dirk to such lengths and what caused Gwyn’s initial bitterness. And when all is revealed, the deep emotion of each of them is poignantly communicated.
Though the era and religious turmoil of the Reformation age seems far removed from contemporary times, the questions and doubts these characters wrestle with are very relevant today. Does God’s holiness make Him distant because of our sin, or does He really want to extend forgiveness and offer a personal relationship to us? Let me assure you, He does offer forgiveness and grace with the desire that all would come to Him. These questions are addressed with themes of hope and forgiveness shining in a beautiful way through the journeys of Gwyn and Dirk.
This story had the perfect combination of action, suspenseful drama, mild humor, serious issues of faith, and a sweet and promising romance. I’m already on to book two where Gwyn and Dirk seem to be getting out of one scrape into another!
Thank you to Rachelle and WhiteFire Publishing for the complimentary review copy in exchange for my honest review.
What inspired you to write The Sound of Diamonds?
The title came first, as I was driving down the road one day. I decided I needed to know what the sound of diamonds even was, so I started writing a story about a girl who needs glasses and gets herself embroiled in the middle of the Dutch Revolution–and of course the handsome red-headed hero who saves her!
What spiritual message or theme do you want to communicate to readers with The Sound of Diamonds?
Hope. Specifically, how hope can be had even in the midst of life’s tragedies…like the death of loved ones, the death of dreams held dear.
What was most challenging about writing a story set in this time period?
Probably nit-picking the little details! I searched for what felt like the randomest facts: what sleeves looked like in the 16th century, what the most common beverage was since water sanitation was, well, not quite up to par. And how far a horse could travel in a day. Although it could be frustrating, it could be fun, too.
Do you have any hobbies?
I spent way too long staring at this question, LOL. Do writing-related hobbies count? Book signings make me nervous and happy at the same time! I enjoy blogging more as a hobby than a regularly-posting blogger. And I’m always, always tempted to put writing as a hobby at times like these, before I remember that I actually get to call that a job now. 🙂
If you could live in any other time period in history, which would it
be and why?
The Elizabethan era! It fascinates me, which is one of the reasons I wrote about it…
What are you currently* reading?
Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg! I haven’t gotten very far yet but I already really like Ava and Seth. Also, I’m reading Harry Potter for the first time. Currently in number four!
*I’m sure Rachelle has finished these books by now…. I have been terribly slow at posting this interview! I ❤ Melissa Tagg, too!
Thank you SO MUCH for answering my interview questions! It’s fascinating to learn stories behind a book or author. I’m glad to hear you googled sleeves 🙂 Now I know I’m not the only person who googles odd things!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she’s lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote The Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.
What is one of your favorite eras to READ about? Have you ever read a book set in the Elizabethan or Protestant Reformation era?
Courtney! What a splenderific review! Thank you so much for your kind words for Gwyn and Dirk! I’m glad you like first-person POV, too. 😉
Yes, Googling odd things is the reason Google was invented, I’m certain. Those who Google serious things have got it wrong, LOL.
You’re right, I’ve finished those books but just barely (I’m in Harry Potter #5 now). Happy reading as you explore Dirk and Gwyn’s next story! 🙂
THANK YOU! And yes, I really do like 1st person POV when it is done as fabulously as you write it :).
What did we do before we could google anything instantly?! I remember those days… I guess we consulted books 😉
This novel is absolutely, plain and simple, gorgeous! It surprised me beyond my greatest expectations, which is all attested to Rachelle’s beautiful skills. 🙂
EXACTLY!!! It is gorgeous. Thinking back over all that happened with Dirk and Gwyn in the course of the story, I’m even more impressed with Rachelle’s skill in packing a deep and action-filled story into seemingly few pages. I’m very ready to read the conclusion of their story in Emeralds this April!
Rissi and Courtney, ya’ll make my heart glow! Thank you for your enthusiasm! I can’t wait to share Emeralds with you and see what you think of the finale! 😀
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