Back in the Sixties while Motown music filled the airwaves, naïve Jill Novak acknowledged her knack for choosing losers when boring Husband Number One vanished, leaving her to support their two-year-old. Afflicted with planning deficit disorder, the perpetual daydreamer soon morphs from small town Jill to sophisticated big city Cherie, but a new name does not a new life bring. In 1969 Houston, Cherie encounters a rogue's gallery of strange, wonderful and sometimes dangerous characters; a suave salesman who turns brutal, a drop-dead gorgeous transsexual, a hairy cop who incorporates fondling girls into his job, a walleyed girl whose peepers inevitably park on men's private parts, a wannabe Mafia hit man, and a warped neighbor whose desire for friendship borders on stalking. But it is two distinctly different men—a middle-age gregarious gambler and a twenty-something gruff intellectual—who jump on board and share Jill-Cherie's rollicking roller coaster ride into the 21st Century and womanhood.
Filled with moments from the laid-back Age of Aquarius through the materialistic, high-speed Internet era, The Jewel Box music and references to the times/political climate reflect the rocky terrain of the country (and subsequent growth) parallel with that of its main character. This romantic family saga reminds us true love rarely runs smooth, true friendship never wavers, occasionally everyone screws up, and sometimes slipping off track leads to profound appreciation as we approach our destination.
I was thrown head first into a world of romance that exceeded my expectations of this book. Grant it, it was out of my genre's comfort zone, but never judge a book til you have dove into it's pages.
This book blew me away and took me by surprise. I felt as if I was living the words in the story with a clear picture in my head. I absolutely loved the humor, the characters, and the plot. The story just poured through and left me wanting to take my time and actually enjoy this story and let my feelings flow within its pages. I also loved the spunk of the main character, Cherie and her vivacious and amazing friends and family who brought forth a lifetime of lots of emotions that had me laughing, crying, and angry.
This is a book that will be a part of my soul and spirit for as long as I live. I was absolutely enchanted by this author's unforgettable writing style. This is definitely a story that I will re-read again for just the pure pleasure of reading my favorite parts in this story. I highly recommend this book to all romantics who love to fall in love with a happy ending.
Due to some of the language, humor, and sex scenes, reader discretion is advised.
I received an eARC copy of this remarkable story in return of an honest review.
About the Author
Michelle McCarty is a native Texan born with a love of writing, but forced to take jobs that actually paid for necessities along the way. Having done everything from owning her own hair salon and employment agency to writing ad copy and editing for an online newspaper, Michelle has finally settled into writing full time.
Growing up with four older sisters in an insanely busy household abuzz with chaos, escapism came through daydreaming and writing. After mastering cursive in elementary, I wrote asinine poems and short stories. Some were retrieved by teachers who promptly sent me to the principal or to the front of class for a “show and share” moment. Chastising decelerated my writing and amplified my reading, and by my teen years I envied those with actual goals because I was living vicariously via characters in novels (hello, Biff Loman).
After school, marriage, childbirth, and divorce, writing for personal entertainment came to a grinding halt while I raised my daughter and launched a flourishing career in underemployment. Eventually I wound up writing ad copy, but continued my quest for the perfect workplace niche. When my granddaughter was hospitalized for three years, her determination to survive gave me incentive to breathe life into several stories gathering dust. The Jewel Box is my first published novel, and I am pleased to “show and share” it with everyone. A native Texan residing in Houston, I look forward to hearing from readers.