A Precious Jewel
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A Precious Jewel (Stapleton-Downes #2)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,050 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Luck is a Lady

Once Miss Priscilla Wentworth had been a well-bred young lady. That was before family tragedy left her without shelter from poverty and want. Now Priscilla supposed she should count herself lucky that a gentleman like Sir Gerald Stapleton wanted her to be his most favored favorite-someone who was worthy of being his mistress. But Priscilla was not foolish eno...more
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Signet
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Ridley
I bought the reissue as an ebook, rather than try to find a used copy of the original, and it was well worth it, despite paying a MMPB price for a category length story.

A Precious Jewel is unlike any historical I've read. The heroine is a prostitute working in a brothel, the hero a beta of average intelligence and looks, and, get this, the sex is initially quite uneventful for her.

"What?" you say, "The heroine isn't a virtuous maiden pretending to be a prostitute? Neither is the hero a take-char...more
Rane
When Sir Gerald Stapleton visits Mrs. Blyth’s house dubbed “the finishing school” for his pleasure and nothing else, never would he have dreamed he would meet the woman whom would change his heart and world forever Priscilla Wentworth. Priscilla must heal Gerald’s wounds of his past and get bast both their mistrusts to have a future together


After reading A Precious Jewel, I can fully understand how Mary Balogh was able to break so many boundaries in romance novels, with two unconventional lea...more
Nisha
This book is one of those stories where its sooo different from the norm, that you can't be anything but impressed with the plot, the characters, and the writing style. The only reason I can't give this 5 stars is because the hero never felt like a hero to me, and I need that to be satisfied. Let's say that this is a 4.5 star book.

The hero, Gerald, is a typical gentleman. Average in all accounts, intelligence, looks, personality, etc. He has a little bit of a tragic past, so he's a bit self-cent...more
Audrey
I'm giving this a 3+ stars ("I liked it") because, even though I think the story itself was unique, well-written, emotionally-gripping, and pretty much perfect for the characters it featured, I personally couldn't get much more excited than "I liked it" throughout the book. That said, two moments made me cry, so apparently I was invested enough in the story to feel that much. However, my overall feeling upon finishing it was "I liked it," but it was too angsty for my tastes. I should really know...more
Bill
This book runs parallel to The Ideal Wife, beginning before that book and ending after it completes. I like it more than The Ideal Wife. Mary Balogh says in a prologue to this book that she didn't think she could possibly sell this book because it featured a beta hero and a working prostitute heroine. Her fellow authors agreed with her. But she wrote it anyway (in two weeks - I am so jealous) and sent if off to her publisher. She expected it to be rejected. After waiting quite some time to hear...more
Crista
As I sit at my computer writing this review, I am a mess. I read this book in one sitting and I am a complete emotional wreck....I love it! This feeling is how I feel after I've read something special, something "other", something unique, something unforgettable! This is how I feel after reading A Precious Jewel.

Priscilla Wentworth is precisely what that titles says...she is a precious jewel. Resorting to prostitution after her father/brother leave her penniless, she encounters Sir Gerald Stapl...more
Zumbagirl
I don't know how Balogh does it but she can take an impossible topic and turn it into a plausible story. This was strangely addictive and I read it over two days. It had a melancholy tone to it and it was making me feel sad at different times but hopeful too. It's very hard to believe that these two would have a happily ever after. Even though I didn't dislike the hero, Gerald, I definitely liked the heroine, Priss or Priscilla, much more.
So these two had an interesting relationship. Can't expl...more
Amarilli73
da www.sognipensieriparole.com

Un libro semplicemente MERAVIGLIOSO. La stessa Balogh ammette di averlo scritto quasi in uno stato di grazia, nel giro di soli quindici giorni, e di essere rimasta stupita che fosse pubblicato subito, senza neppure una revisione, incontrando dal 1993 un successo ininterrotto tra i lettori.

La ragione principale, forse, è che non è il solito romance classico, con colpi di scena ed eroi avventurosi , ma la storia normale, e pure piatta se proprio lo vogliamo dire, di...more
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
One of the most boring romances Ive ever read. The blurb was more interesting.

It would have been better if it had bit grittier and darker in tone.

But no,lets make the heroine a saint instead.

The heroine tries to convince the reader that while she sells her body for money the place where she works is nice and all the other girls in residence are treated with respect and taken care of. Why sometimes she even enjoys the bedding.

.....

Face the truth, its a brothel and youre a prostitute. Simple as th...more
Evie Byrne
I'm going to have to go against popular opinion on this one. I respect Ms. Balogh's work to no end, but this really, really didn't work for me.

In fact, I found it downright disturbing. Still reeling with the shock of it all, I've come to the Internets to find out if other people reacted similarly and instead I've learned that it's a much loved, much praised book.

Okay, so I'm a weirdo. This review is for you other weirdos out there.

First, I love the concept. I love that the heroine is a prostit...more
MashJ
I reread this one yesterday when I was off sick. It is a very impressive book- Balogh said that she wrote it in a fortnight and yet she has such a depth of understanding of her characters and develops the plot so beautifully that it feels like she must have spent months honing it. I find that her work can be repetetive sometimes when she finds a motif or issue for a character and then does it to death in the novel. This book represents why I keep reading her though because she is so darn good wh...more
Readdiction
Jun 30, 2008 Readdiction rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Regency fans who want a change from the usual rake and virgin theme. :)
Recommended to Readdiction by: All About Romance
A lovely, slow-paced and unlikely romance between an almost naive and sweet baron (Gerald) and a gentle former lady-turned prostitute (Prissy). The romance did not feature any complicated plots but that of the skeletons of both the hero and the heroine. Although Gerald was not a typical hero (he was not a very good lover, at least at first - quite selfish in taking his own pleasures - and he was not exceptionally good looking or even very bright), I found myself drawn to him and their story.
How...more
Marisella
An intriguing tale of the redemptive power of love. A precious young lady is forced from her home by the incoming heir of her father's estate. She flees to her governess, who has started a school for young ladies in London. This "school" is, sadly, a house of prostition. The young lady does as she must, and joins the workforce at this establishment. A handsome and kindly young lord sets her up as his mistress... and you'll have to read this to discover more! We know that evil wasn't invented in...more
Tressa
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this book. The female protagonist is unusual and I don't think I've ever come across such a character. I did find the book depressing, but it was sweet in the end. I don't really want to give the entire story away as it is rather unusual and unexpected. I do think it's a worthy book to read as it is so different for the romance genre.
Kay
Borrowed from Shelli.

Had trouble getting emotionally attached to the story. I didn't quite follow in love with the hero or heroine. I liked Prissy pretty well, but Gerald... I wanted to hit him sometimes.

This is basically Pretty Woman retold as an historical romance. I read it quickly, and enjoyed it, but I just needed more emotion.
Sheila
I devoured this book. It's the best hooker with a heart of gold story EVER. (My inner feminist had some issues, but I beat her unconscious with a copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay's collected poems and kept wallowing.)
Amanda Osborne
So this is the second in that very old Mary Balogh series and it deals with the characters of Gerald and Priss, who are the nobleman and the mistress that is he is obsessed with. This is highly unusual in a Regency romance. There are novels of a man meeting a woman in dire straits and offering to make her his mistress, but this one was different. Priss was already his mistress and before that, a prostitute that he frequented in an upscale brothel. After visiting her regularly, he came upon her w...more
Lita Bouquard
If you like a lot of drama in your regency romances skip this one. It features Gerald Stapleton who appeared in The Ideal Wife. Gerald is a bit dull, average intelligence and just ok in the looks department. I have been waiting for a book where the hero didn't have the lock of hair that always falls down over is eyebrow. Gerald is however a nice gentleman. He meets Prissy a whore (highclass) when his usual is unavailable. Gerald just wants plain sex with no talking, movement or interaction other...more
LaFleurBleue
Luckily this was a rather short book with barely more than 300 pages.
Unfortunately there were many repetitions, especially in the lead characters' dialogues, Priss repeating ad nauseam that she just wanted to give Gerald pleasure and him telling her that she was a good girl. I cannot count the number of occurrences, as I read it from a paperback, but I would estimate each between 5 and 10.
Gerald embodied the anti-hero. Quite good-looking but not beautiful. Slow, definitely not intelligent, dim-w...more
Cheryl C.
Events from his past have turned Sir Gerald Stapleton against love and women. They are not to be trusted and should only be used for pleasure. While visiting Miss Blythe's politely dubbed "finishing school", Sir Gerald suddenly finds himself captivated by a young courtesan known to him as Priss. How could such a refined young lady end up at Miss Blythe's and why has her beauty and grace touched him so?

A victim of unfortunate circumstances, Priscilla Wentworth's path to Sir Gerald's bed became mo...more
Crystal
This was a very enjoyable historical romance, it read fast and I truly enjoyed watching Gerald and Prissy fall in love. I also loved the secondary character of Miles.

I loved the character of Prissy - she is a no-nonsense do what she has to woman. She also has her own pursuits that once she is a mistress instead of a woman in an upscale brothel she gets to pursue. She is her own woman. She does not delude herself that she is falling in love with Gerald, though she does try to remain practical ab...more
Carrie Olguin
Excellent character driven romance story.

The heroine is a nice "good girl" who fell on hard times and ended up selling her body to survive. She struggles with maintaining her two identities, the Lady born and the whore life forced her to become. She's obviously a nice person who understand the choice she made and is doing the best she can to life with that choice.

She tries not to fall for the hero, really tries to maintain the prostitute mask she's trained to use to protect her heart, to not all...more
Patria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Robinson
I hardly ever, almost never, read books about prostitutes. I don't know how I happen to choose this book, I could not have read all of the blurb.

When I began reading, I found Priss so interesting that I decided to continue reading it even though the theme is one I generally really dislike.

Gerald is so ackward and unsure of himself that I could not help but feel sorry for him.

Priscilla is so self composed and dignified, she quickly became a woman that I could not help but admire.

THe thing that I...more
Kennedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruthie Knox
A wonkomance par excellence! I liked this book for its imperfections as much as for the romance. There is something sort of dreamy about it. I read that Balogh wrote it in two weeks, which perhaps accounts for that -- kind of a light touch, a uniformity of tone, a repetition in the characters' inner monologue (and there is a LOT of inner monologue), and not a great deal of plot. Some of the reviews complain that Priss is excessively praised and made to seem a paragon, which surprises me, because...more
Valerie Rayne
Jun 17, 2013 Valerie Rayne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys a good romance novel
I personally really enjoyed this book, and I went into it expecting to absolutely despise it. While I do typically enjoy "period" pieces, I don't typically enjoy romance in them. But then, I read the foreword to the book.

The author states that these two characters haunted her and she absolutely had to write their story, and reading it, these characters do haunt you - in an incredibly great way. I was drawn to both of them, the spoiled lady and the "unexperienced" rich guy, and I was incredibly d...more
Koalathebear
Urgh and *gag* I really did NOT like this book at all. So much eye-rolling, cringing and groaning from me. I have no idea why people rave about it. I think they're attracted to the naughtiness and unexpectedness of it all in a regency historical romance ... The 'heroine' is a high born prostitute and the 'hero' is a fairly average-looking, not very smart guy with low self-esteem. How romantic – or not. Balogh likes writing about scandalous or unconventional pairings and I think that's admirable...more
Katie B-K
Okay, so here's my thing with this book. I enjoyed reading it, the main characters were very kind and nice and likable, and it had a happy ending. (Duh. It's a romance novel.)

But a lot of the plot was pretty problematic, and never really resolved. I have no problem with the fact that the main heroine is a prostitute. I totally get what the author was going for with the commentary on class and limited options available to women. But it was really hard for me to get past the power dynamic in this...more
Claudine
I was looking forward to reading this book after reading The Ideal Wife (re-release from 1991). The Ideal Wife left you wondering about Gerald Stapleton. I have to say that Gerald's character from this book left me very fustrated at times especially when he asserts himself with Prissy. Just like all romances it works out in the end for the two main characters, but there were a few times in the book where I thought I wanted to shake the both of them. I fell in love with Mary Balogh with her Simpl...more
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Mary Jenkins was born on 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high-school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curl...more
More about Mary Balogh...
Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga, #6) Slightly Married (Bedwyn Saga, #1) First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1) A Summer to Remember (Bedwyn Prequels, #2) Slightly Wicked (Bedwyn Saga, #2)

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