You are absolutely right – I did say I was not going to review any more historical romance novels, but I was just so intrigued by Rebecca M. Gibson’s woefully written “Diamonds Fall.” I’m not saying I’m going to re-introduce this genre into the reviewing fold, but I’m sure glad I did make an exception for this promising, young author.
As with today’s fascination with all things historical, from Outlander to Penny Dreadful, Diamonds Fall is a cohesive work that presents atypical heroes and heroines, each with their own set of flaws and strengths. The protagonist in Gibson’s book is Annabel Maria Hoddington, a girl born into high society, whose life of luxury has been ripe with extravagance and luxury. However, that all suddenly changes when she is kidnapped and held hostage in a remote village that is literally the antithesis to the ways of life Annabel is used to. She soon finds herself having to live the life of the impoverished and disenfranchised, forced to live with three siblings who have their own set of problems.
Instead of glossing over the mental anguish that befalls Annabel, the author bravely presents a character portrait of a reluctant rich girl who must completely disband her knowledge of how the world works in order to survive in this slum-like village, all the while being held hostage. Annabel is complex and essentially broken down to her very core. Her captors are unlikeable and reckless, and there seems to be no hope in her situation to indicate she would survive this ordeal.
The book chronicles Annabel’s learning to adapt to a different type of lifestyle and making some honest friends along the way. Gibson shines in her carefully selected words used to express and explain Annabel’s predicament and her vast experiences that ultimately create a protagonist that is at once both wounded but surprisingly willful. The story unfolds so that there is a careful balance of suspense, action, and redemption, and succeeds in presenting a tale that clearly has the message that nothing is permanent in this life.