by Elizabeth Lowell

October 1997
ISBN: 0-380-97317-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books

Honor Donovan's brother Kyle is missing! Loyalty is part of the Donovan family code, so Honor, determined to find him, thinks nothing of putting an ad in a local paper for a fishing guide who can operate Kyle's SeaSport motorboat and take her out among the islands of Puget Sound where she believes Kyle might be lost.

Jake Mallory knows that Kyle Donovan is missing; Jake is threatened with the possibility of a complete business disaster because his ex-partner, one Kyle Donovan, disappeared with a shipment of amber in the Kamchatka Peninsular of Russia leaving Jake holding the bag.

That Jake should arrive on Honor's doorstep and apply for the position of "fishing guide" was a given, if Kyle was going to contact anyone it would probably be his sister. That Honor, who had no idea who Jake was, would feel like she'd been hit by a truck within two minutes of meeting him was a surprise! Jake was also unnerved by his response to Kyle's sister - he was trying to find his ex-partner to pin a theft on him, not waste time falling in lust with Honor Donovan!

This splendid story would be diminished by any detailed discussion of the plot, which is taut, well written and extraordinarily well researched. Let's just say that it involves a fortune in amber, an old legend, and some unsavory characters. The government (USA mainly, though there are others who are interested) also gets into the act, as does the eldest Donovan brother, Archer. It is hard to say that the romance between Jake and Honor is the focus of this tale, because it is so naturally a part of the progression of the story. As their emotional involvement deepens, so does the mystery that surrounds them - one complement the other! The dialogue between Jake and Honor is sparkling - Honor manages to say things that we would have said if we'd thought of it at the time! Jake is everything that a romantic hero should be: good looking, intelligent, protective, and a dream between the sheets. Can Honor ask for more? (Could any woman?) Their strengths and weaknesses are well matched and between them, Jake and Honor find a dangerous answer to their many questions about Kyle Donovan and the amber.

This is the first book in her series about the Donovan family, and Elizabeth Lowell seems to have struck gold! A much-loved author with many novels to her credit, Ms. Lowell has poured her enormous talent into writing about this family - Amber Beach is followed by Jade Island, Pearl Cove and Midnight on Ruby Bayou. While I have enjoyed many a Lowell romance, I found these novels to have a depth of plot and intensity of character not found in some of her other books - if you are a Lowell fan then these stories are an absolute must-have! If you've not read any of her books, these will whet your appetite for more!

Reviewed in August 2001 by Celia.

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