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Pele's Tears by Sharon K. Garner
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 1432825054
Date: 20 July 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Sharon Gardner has crafted a colorful romantic suspense novel set on Kauai with one or more villains lurking in the background seeking a rumored family treasure of three fabulous gems called Pele's Tears. The surviving members of the family, cousins Dante Kahoe and Lani Beecham have jointly inherited a family flower farm and the tale of the fabled gems. Someone has reached from Kauai to Maine threatening Dante and Lani if they fail to surrender the stones.

Dante, Lani, and Dante's twin Dom once sought the treasure, but childhood tragedy killed Dom and sent Lani away to school far from Kauai. They blame themselves for Dom's death because he fell as they searched for a cave hiding the fabled gems. Now the terms of Dante and Lani's inheritance requires her to return to Kauai or lose her portion of the flower farm.

When Dante arrives in Maine to retrieve her, she at first resists, but, frightened by the threatening notes, finally agrees. The attraction he has always held for her also makes her want to solve the mystery of the threats and keep him safe from any family curse.

Garner uses her setting to advantage and liberally sprinkles her dialogue with Hawaiian terms. The story succeeds well as a romance, but a bit less well as a thriller. She manages a few surprises at the end, but makes it much too easy for Lani and Dante. She creates villains with strong potential, but lets that fizzle. More intensity would have turned a pleasant diversion into a compelling read. It's always a little disappointing when the villain confesses all.

Other novels by Garner have also used unfamiliar locales to spark the reader's interest Sanctuary and River of Dreams were set in South America. Both received four stars from Romantic Times and are available on Kindle.

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