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Amber Beach (Donovan #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,486 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
Deadly secrets are buried on Amber Beach ...

Donovan International is a power to be reckoned with in the dazzling and cutthroat worldwide gem trade -- and is therefore a target for the murderous greed of unscrupulous competitors. Though a shrewd businesswoman, Honor Donovan has been effectively shut out of the dangerous family enterprise by the Donovan males -- until her fa
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Avon (first published 1997)
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Angela James
2014 update: It's funny how much my perception of old favorites changes as my reading history changes. With this re-read, I realized how incredibly insta-love this book was. There was absolutely no depth of relationship between the hero and heroine, and they fell in love in a matter of days (possibly hours). But I didn't care, I still found the book yummy. These older Elizabeth Lowell books really appealed to me, with their dark and dangerous heroes who want to protect their heroines. Tell Me No ...more
Sahara Kelly
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with the Donovan series many years ago and have just replaced my original almost falling-apart paperbacks with hardcover versions from some Amazon resources. It's a worthwhile endeavor, IMHO, because this series is outstanding!! There are four books (Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove and Midnight on Ruby Bayou) and each is a sparkling gem! (No pun intended) Elizabeth Lowell has created a family anyone would adore to belong to, and heroes that are studly, gorgeous, talented, hum ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Do you want to know absolutely EVERYTHING about operating a 27-foot boat on the Puget Sound? If so, then this book is for you. You will be instructed on every excruciating detail as though your friend's asshole stepfather is reading to you from a manual and thinking you are an idiot for not already knowing what is being taught.

But, wait... just wanting to know about the tedious boat details won't be enough for you to get into this book.

Do you ALSO want to know absolutely EVERYTHING about amber?
Michelle Connolly
Goes on and on about how to sail a freakin' boat! If I wanted to know that I'd buy a bloody manual!
It's slow and boring, all talk and no action.
The thrid chapter is a whole dialogue between the hero and this woman called Ellen about a whole bunch of things i couldn't care less about!
After reading 50 pages I still didn't give a shit about abything in the story. I skimmed through it and couldn't spot one dialogue that held my interest so I tossed it right there and decided not to waste
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: boringromance
I really wanted to like this book, what with the great ratings - but I have to admit. It's so terribly DRY! A hundred pages in and I was groaning with the need for SOMETHING to start happening. The interactions between the main couple were pretty great, witty and fun to read, but there was just far too much extraneous information about sailing, fishing, etc.

It was just so unnecessary.

Not to mention the whole book feeling kind of like a made-for-tv movie you watch because it's raining outside.

Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit
I love this family! I'm not big on Ms. Lowell's new suspense/romance novels, but her early works are unbelievably wonderful. The Donovans are such a great family that I hate there are only four. Amber Beach is probably my favorite as the others tend to get bogged down in the jewelry trade details. Jake and Honor are great together, and their struggles can sometimes bring a smile to your face. I love seeing the interaction between the family especially with the sisters! Definitely a keeper!
Suzanne Graham
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Slow start and pacing dragged during info dump dialogue scenes, but since it was Book One in a series, I read it through to the end. I'll give Book Two a shot, but if it's slow too, I won't be finishing it.
Rachelle Johns
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mystery, a love story, easy to get into, hard to put down
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l
This book is your typical Romance/Suspence/Thriller. Its major selling point is that this series revolves around a gem hunting family and thus gems play a big part (as if you didn't know that from the title). I thought the inclusion of the fabled Amber Room was great. Not many people know about it. Other than that (and the repartee between the two main characters), the book is kind of bland. The main female character, Honor, is learning how to drive her brother's boat so she can find him. While ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish it. Tried too hard in the witty/smartass comments, lost the story.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow, what a ride. Makes you want your own Donovan brother.
Hal Lynch
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lowell is the best

Never boring.. Never simple. Always twists and plots within plots. Love to read the story when its first out and read again and again. Ms Lowell is one of my keeper authors - keep her books always.
Susan Carey
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting way to learn about amber!
Jackie Moen
May 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish this book,so very slow and boring! Focused to much on boats and Amber. I got 41% in and just couldn't go any further.
Becky Logan
Sep 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Very slow book and male protagonist is incredibly whiny and arrogant. I gave it up
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Premise of "Amber Beach": (Excellent!) One man is found murdered and a fortune in amber is missing in a deal gone wrong in the Baltic. There are two suspects -- Kyle Donovan, who has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, and Jake Mallory, who brokered the deal. Kyle's sister, Honor, unknowingly hires the handsome Jake (who's known to the Donovan family as "Jay") to find Kyle and prove his innocence. Of course, Jake is only helping Honor in order to clear his own name.

Execution of said
Mar 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, ebooks
Amber Beach is going back a while in my re-read queue, back to earlier days of Elizabeth Lowell's romantic suspense novels. It's the first of her Donovans series, which to this day remain among my favorites of hers. Not because they're particularly better written or less formulaic than her later work, but more because I'm partial to the family of characters she depicts. Plus, while the cast travels all over the globe, they're headquartered in Seattle. And I'm a sucker for books that reference Pi ...more
TBR Challenge 2011- General: this book has been on my TBR list since July 2010.

2.5* Rounding up to be nice.

Stubborn characters and a weak plot characterize this romantic suspense. The most interesting parts of the book had to do with (somewhat outdated) information on the Russian economy as it switched to free market, or amber. I was surprised to find I enjoyed the author's tangents on amber, and I even enjoyed some of the boating information. the plot was silly and any semi-smart reader is goin
Author: Elizabeth Lowell
First published: 1998
Length: 365 pages, 6239 kindle locations
Setting: Contemporary, Puget Sound.
Sex: Infrequent, hand wavy.
Hero: International gem dealer with particular interest in amber..
Heroine: Gem artist.

Lots and lots of information dump on boats, fishing, amber, gem trade, Russian politics, history, the Amber Room …. Somewhere in here is a reasonable but light romantic-suspense. Interesting enough for the, sometimes dry, exposition but lacking in romance and suspens
So I wasn't planning on re-reading this (or the rest of the series) anytime soon, however I recently read another series where the sex scenes were so poorly done and inserted into the overall plot, I wanted to read something that I recalled had those scenes done well.

Unlike that other series where the sex seemed to overthrow the plot a bit, here there is enough of a plot that the sex seems natural. That said this is almost chick-lit (I don't class it as such, as to me, chick-lit is generally mor
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful read. Unfortunately, I set it down and then couldn't locate the book.

This book is bacically about a family called " The Donovans". The family deals in mtlti countries for raw gems and amber. The story started out a little slow, but after getting halfway through I just couldn't put it down. There is a Amber Room, in Russia that is supposedly very pure and exact. When a panel of the room comes up missing and so does one of the Donovan brothers, the youngest Kyle; Honor Donovan
Nov 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Tightly packaged crime thriller set in the San Juan Islands, featuring a frantic manhunt for Kyle Donovan and a panel of a fabled Tsarist treasure, the Amber Room. Very fine writing.
There is no place called the Amber Beach so the title is a bit disconcerting. The heroine is young sister Honor Donovan, dispatched to check on the missing brother's seaside cottage, and finding herself entangled in the multiple search parties, official and freelance, US and Russian. She teams up with adventurer Jake
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
When Honor Donovan finds out her brother, Kyle, is missing, she heads to the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest to find him. Kyle is rumored to have stolen a fortune in amber, including a panel from Russia's Amber Room which was stolen by the Nazis in WWII. The police are hounding her and Honor knows Kyle wouldn't steal the gems. Determined to find him, Honor hires a "fishing guide" to help her search the islands. But Jake Mallory is not really a fishing guide. He has been doing business ...more
Leila Mota
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the first book about the Donovan family, a family that has a lot of brothers and sisters that are always teasing and loving each other and their parents. They have a company that deals with gems and other precious material. As they operate all over the world, they are always involved in some sort of mess with bad people. It's the old story of good versus evil, and obviously, there is a love story also.
It's entertaining, but this is not my favorite book (there are four), although it's not
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, adventure
I read Jade Island first before I read this book. Naturally, I had to read up on Honor Donovan and Jake Mallory after Jade Island. Amber Beach is the first book from four-parts of The Donovans series.

Honor is in a desperate search for his brother, Kyle Donovan, who went missing after a shipment of amber went wrong and a death of a man is pinned on his beloved brother. She then hires Jake Mallory as a fishing guide without knowing that Jake is actually looking for Kyle himself. While Honor is wor
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ug. I'm being generous giving this book 2 stars. I was able to get through it, and that's probably the only reason why.

This book gave me eye strain from all the eye rolling I did while reading it. The dialog was completely cheesy and awful. The romance built between the main characters was unbelievable and gag-inducing in the way it was put out there. Everything was so repetitive and unbearably anvil-like in presentation. The two characters meet and the author writes what she thinks passes for w
Mar 10, 2014 added it
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Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
There wasn't enough substance to the book, I was disappointed. It sounded so good... I thought for sure I'd get the rest of the series (so Crystal, let me know what you think when you read the rest). I, too, liked the way they kept dodging each other, and the banter was slick, but other than that, it was lacking... hugely. And the ending... What the hell was that? Sure, they find Kyle, but the suspense and the climax left me saying: "What? That's it?!" The last few pages where the characters are ...more
Lori Shafer
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
I found Amber Beach in a stack of forgotten books. I have read a couple of Lowell's books in the past, but I never found her books a must read.

In this novel, a sister is searching for her brother. Some believe he is dead. Some believe he is a thief. All she knows is he has to be innocent and alive. So she hires a man to teach her to pilot his boat. Hoping her brother's location can be found in the clues left on his boat.

But as she searches for her brother, his enemies are hunting him. He is susp
Kelly ...
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I would not classify this as a mystery. It is more romance than mystery. Yes, there is plot line that involves some mystery, but the story doesn't twist and build suspense. There is never a question as to how it will end. The loved one will be found, and will be innocent. The couple will marry and live happily ever after. It is trite and predictable. A mystery should keep me guessing and this novel deosnt do that at all.

Has Amber Beach turned yo
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Individually and with co-author/husband Evan, Ann Maxwell has written over 60 novels and one work of non-fiction. There are 30 million copies of these books in print, as well as reprints in 30 foreign languages. Her novels range from science fiction to historical fiction, from romance to mystery. After working in contemporary and historical romance, she became an innovator in the genre of romantic ...more
More about Elizabeth Lowell...

Other Books in the Series

Donovan (4 books)
  • Jade Island (Donovan, #2)
  • Pearl Cove (Donovan, #3)
  • Midnight in Ruby Bayou (Donovan, #4)
“turning as it looked for prey. Though the bird’s shadow whipped over her face,” 0 likes
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