16 October 2008

Review: Jade Lee - The Dragon's Earl

Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Leisure (August 26, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0843960469
ISBN-13: 978-0843960464

A Chinese monk striding down the aisle was the first shock at countess-to-be Evelyn Stanton’s wedding. To watch him dispatch three groomsmen, unarmed, and to learn that he was white and the long-lost heir to the Earldom of Warhaven, was the second. He would be her husband?

After the slaughter of his family in far-off China, Jacob Cato found sanctuary. In a Xi Lin temple he learned to be strong, but now he had a grander goal: to reclaim his English heritage and the woman he’d left behind.

Revenge. It poisoned everything he’d learned, everything he’d done, and yet every fiber of Jacob burned for it—just as he burned for the beautiful but very English Evelyn. Long ago, the conspiracy to kill his family had stranded him, lost Jacob in the exotic East and made him unrecognizable to his countrymen…and women. He had not forgotten that past. It was to make peace that he had returned. The manner was yet to be decided.

Take one gruesome act that has only two survivors. One of them is Jacob, a ten year old boy and heir to an earldom . . . in England. The second survivor is a Chinese boy named Zhi Min and together they grow up in the Xi Lin Temple … in China.

To become a monk, the adult Jacob a.k.a Jie Ke has to face his past and travel back to England to reclaim his heritage, his bride and his fortune. If he still wants to be a monk after that, the Abbott will welcome him with open arms.

Where do I start to explain my feelings regarding The Dragon Earl? It has captivated me in the most unlikely way. It has a plot that serves in its simplicity and complements the intricate character development. Jade Lee possesses a poised storytelling skill that is laced with colorful emotions and is something that is either appreciated or not. I think this is what amazed me more than anything, the feel of Jade Lee’s writing. It served in the endeavor of the lead couple’s romance and at the same time it demanded more energy from me to remain focused on reading than usual.

The author asks of me as the reader to take it down a notch. Slow the pace and fully invest myself in coming to understand the origin of the anguish and fear but also the blossoming of hope and love between Jacob and Evelyn. Evelyn is born and bred to be a Countess someday while her inner self is screaming at the confinements of society’s acceptable behavior. Jacob’s goal is to become a monk but the heart is a tricky thing and his is buried under layers of deceit and half-truths that he needs to uncover.

The sensual exploration between Jacob and Evelyn is both tender and scintillating. But most of all it is the incredible in-depth view of their emotional turmoil and growth that brought a lump to my throat. Though the situation is almost desperate with Christopher being the next in line for the Earldom and affianced to Evelyn, the plot demands someone to get to the bottom of it all. As Jacob shares his wisdom with Evelyn, her tempestuous side rises and challenges her to take a good look at what she wants in life. Jacob has soul-searching of his own to do, this isn’t without a fight and it takes place both internally as externally. In Jacob’s journey Zhi Min and Mei Lin are both imperative to tell his story as they are tied to his past in more ways than one.

The Dragon Earl has a solid plot but leaves a few things unanswered in the end which diminished the overall feeling of this tale. It could have made the impact of reading the final pages even greater! The backdrop is lifelike and the secondary characters all add to the mix of mystery and romance. All the elements bear depth and I feel this story is very character and emotion driven.

Jade Lee is the kind of author that uses all the elements of storytelling to focus on the journey of the heart and the soul. For me it made the romance soar but left a few things to be desired.
One thing’s for sure, Jade Lee has a unique approach in telling romance! It is with the heart that searches for answers, a passion that must ignite, and a mystery that needs to be solved for one to be truly free. Jacob and Evelyn will inspire the reader on their journey.

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