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Un bijou si précieux

(Stapleton-Downes #2)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,269 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Priscilla Wentworth perd son père et son frère. Sans argent, elle trouve refuge chez son ancienne gouvernante. Elle pensait arriver dans un pensionnat, mais se retrouve dans une maison de tolérance. Elle devient courtisane et séduit sir Gerald Stapleton
Published October 4th 2017 by J'ai lu (first published June 1st 1993)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  2,269 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Start your review of Un bijou si précieux (Stapleton-Downes, #2)
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
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 le
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
Not to be totally flippant, but the following images ran through what’s left of my Harlequin, RomanceLand riddled brain for various reasons

Gerald, the hero emotionally vacant hero in search of Freud
He’s Forrest Gump down to the wire. Never let a stupid thought go unsaid.

Prissy, the heroine
The heroine has buckets more brains than the hero which isn't saying a whole lot, but don’t call a heroine Prissy. Ever. PRISSY! As many times as I have seen GWTW, every time Forrest called her Prissy all I
Jan 13, 2016 marked it as hr-purgatory  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to my HR Purgatory shelf !

In Roman Catholicism, the purgatory is where the souls of the dead wander in an indefinite state. They stay in such a state unless they "become fit for heaven" at some point. Similarly, this shelf is where books that I am warned about stay—untouched and unread—unless a very compelling reason forces me to read them.


Reason(s) for putting A Precious Jewel in this shelf:
Heroine is a prostitute. Sex play is basically the H treating h like a blow-up doll. H is
I think we can all agree that Mary Balogh writes romances with at least one flawed individual and a complex storyline. As a writer she manages to get into the heads of her characters and the reader. For good or for bad, she plays on our sympathies. A PRECIOUS JEWEL was a powerhouse of bittersweet emotions; it was a character-driven romance.

Using Mrs. Balogh's website, I started with THE IDEAL WIFE where I first 'met' the self-absorbed Sir Gerald Stapleton. On his own, I wouldn't have continued t
Rating: 2 out of 5.

Could have been so much better if the hero wasn't an ignorant hypocrite. Ignorant because he doesn't see what's right in front of him and makes up make-believe scenarios and hypocrite because only he can call her a whore and treat her like shit, but of course no one else can.

I had a lot of respect for this author for writing about a legitimate fallen woman story in historical times. But the hero was too much and so was the heroine for accepting the hero's actions and words lik
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-hole-hero
Where to begin? This was definitely not my favorite Balogh book, and I feel a little cheated for it.

The story is simple enough: insecure lord falls for his gently bred mistress. It's nothing out of the usual, and could have a great deal of potential. However...

Issue #1 - the hero is so terribly insecure, he can't acknowledge the possibility of caring for Priss, even though he clearly does. When he does find himself becoming more emotionally entangled he immediately withdrawals, says a few mean t
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star, series, regency
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
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Mary - Buried Under Romance
Ah, Balogh and her ability to wring tears from me. Such interesting characterization too, as we have a beta hero and a heroine who, despite her choices, is quite content with being simply content. One of the most unusual pairings I've read in this genre, but nicely done? Certainly.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am glad I read A Precious Jewel. There was so much from the Balogh catalogue to choose from since she has been writing for a few decades and what made me choose A Precious Jewel was that in the blurb the two main characters are described as an “unlikeliest pair of lovers”. I am a sucker for unconventional love stories. I love it when the couples have to work for their love, it makes it worthwhile, just like in this particular story.

Priscilla Wentworth comes from a nice family and is a refined
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
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
12/1/09: 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.)
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, regency, category
Definitely one of the better books in the series. The premise was different and the characters were well drawn out. I liked that the hero wasn't charismatic or perfect. I liked that he had issues with reading, writing, arithmetic, and anything involving learning. It helped endear him to the reader which was important given his harsh attitude towards women and his sometimes close-mindedness. The heroine was also interesting with the way she hid behind her smiles to deal with what she was forced t ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Normally I won't DNF a book in the middle of a series if I want to keep reading the series, because it offends my sense of order. It's a minor compulsion that I'm trying to overcome because of the sheer amount that I do not want to read any more of this book.

I don't come to romance for what's in this book, a hero who goes to the heroine (a high-class prostitute) and finds her special because she will give him his favorite kind of sex: missionary where the woman does not move or take part at all.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I think of women around the world forced into prostitution, I want to hate all men. I really can't do that because I love my father, brother, brother-in-law, and nephews. This was not a light read. It also did drag a bit. But I liked the quite dignity of Prissy and the ditzy Gerald. Good read.
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
Madeline Hunter
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved
This is an unusual book for several reasons. First, although published as a traditional "little" regency, it turns almost every trope in that sub-genre on its head. The heroine is not a sweet young miss, but a prostitute. The hero is not a wealthy duke, but a middling sort of gentleman. The author does not romanticize their initial love scenes (they are not lewd or sordid, in my opinion, just matter-of-fact in a way that conveys the realities of the life the heroine leads). Balogh never writes t ...more
I appreciated that Priss was an actual prostitute and there wasn't any hedging there. You come to understand just how someone goes down that path despite having a gentle upbringing. However, there wasn't a whole lot of chemistry or passion between her and Gerlad and I wanted to punch him in the face several times (even though I was grudgingly rooting for them to end up together despite the fact he didn't really deserve her). I did like how Gerald isn't one of those Perfect Specimen Heroes, and i ...more
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
This book was a nice, sweet read. There wasn't a lot of overwhelming passion in this book, but Mary Balogh has a talent at building up slow relationships. The action in this book just dragged on a bit for me, the pacing just felt repetitive and very slow at times. All of the characters in the book were likeable, even if one feels like slapping the hero on the head a few times. I liked his friend, the Earl, whose story is intertwined, much better. Gerald is just staid, dull, and stupid in compari ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: London
Shelves: abandoned
These are some of the worst characters in existence. Shallow, stupid, uninteresting. The H is described as a Beta hero but his behavior is abusive and creepy. If my friend was dating a guy like that I'd encourage her to see a therapist and get a restraining order. He's also boring. Boring and abusive.
Definitely it was not a typical Regency romance. But I was warned beforehand.

Leaving aside the reality of Priscilla's life as a prostitute, I really liked it. Gerald and Priscilla's love story was one of those where people fit each other mostly because of their needs/lacks from childhood. Nowadays, the psychologist/psychiatrist would tell probably it isn't a healthy basis for a happy relationship, but it is still one of the major reasons we build them.

The best way to cope with pain was to pass i
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
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
MsMiz (Tina)
Jan 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-mobi, romance
Hmmmm, well written even if it was slow moving. I do though feel the need to wash my brain out after reading it. I derived no pleasure from it and I honestly did not like any of the characters.

Written in the 1980's and published in the 1990's, this was very risque subject matter at the time and definitely not a troupe for historical romance - a gentleman falls in love with his prostitute and she with him. Therefore, this book must be appreciated for how groundbreaking it was even though I only think the execution was OK. Balogh brings all the feels, per her usual, but I needed a bit more plot/relationship building to fully invest.
Koalathebear Koalathebear
Jun 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
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
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Mary Jenkins was born in 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

Other books in the series

Stapleton-Downes (7 books)
  • The Ideal Wife (Stapleton-Downes, #1)
  • Dark Angel (Stapleton-Downes, #3)
  • Lord Carew's Bride
  • The Famous Heroine (Stapleton-Downes, #5)
  • The Plumed Bonnet (Stapleton-Downes, #6)
  • A Christmas Bride (Stapleton-Downes, #7)

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