Sunday, February 3, 2013

“Topaz Treasure” is One of the Best Novella’s I’ve Ever Read! 5 Stars!


“Topaz Treasure” -- It’s Fresh, Interesting & Addictive!
 I loved, loved, loved it!
Topaz Treasure by Valerie Comer
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
This single novella is worth the price of the entire book which I intend to read because the theme is so interesting. However, I did not want to wait another minute to review “TopazTreasure”, so I here it is.
First I want to point out that all the novellas in “Rainbow’s End” are genuine ‘little novels’ with at least ten chapters. (They are not just long short stories.) This means that with each story you get a full helping of  'HEA enjoyment'. (HEA is the 'Happily Ever After' ending experience that many romance fans so highly prize.)  Each story is also environment-friendly. Each has many short chapters which speed the story forward with interesting events. The reading experience is excellent.
“Topaz Treasure”
This first story in the collection reads like the ‘perfect’ novella. The writing is masterful. The author shows the passage of time better and more smoothly than I’ve seen it done before. When the story unfolds it happens to you. You actually feel it.
Valerie Comer makes exquisite use of physical proxies which involves using body movements to reveal inner states – that is, what a character is feeling. The reader is not told, for example, that a character is worried but is instead made to actually feel that worry along with the character. This is ‘showing and not telling’ at its best. Indeed, this is the kind of writing  normally found only in very experienced authors who are at the high of their creative powers. “TopazTreasure” is a rare gem for a debut work.
Examples of feeling along with the characters:
“She pressed her finger against the few remaining crumbs then licked them off. With the last deep-brown fleck gone, she said good-bye to Kirk Kennedy. Like the confection, he’d been a tantalizing pleasure while he lasted. Her gaze drifted to the dessert case. She could get another piece of cake, but her relationships wouldn’t be mended by indulging in more calories.”

“The waitress reached for Lyssa’s plate, which was all but licked clean.”
“He nodded, and his whole body relaxed. ‘It’s true we’re not all called to be the mouth. I forget that sometimes’.”
There was nothing between them. No reason remained to push him away. She leaned back against him, reveling in his nearness.”

In addition to 'feeling' this story, there is a marvelous ‘stand up and cheer’ ending! While the ending follows naturally from the story action, it would not have worked without a well developed foundation. That foundation is evident in each chapter.
However, the writing is so masterfully crafted that right up to the end I would have thought this surprise ending would not have been possible. Yet right at the end all the past hints and foreshadowing come together to make the conclusion seem inevitable. I just love seeing the almost impossible made to look easy. I also greatly enjoy being surprised.
“Topaz Treasure” sets a high standard I didn’t know was possible to reach. I feel blessed to have read it. “Topaz Treasure” is an inspirational romance that can also serve as an inspiration to writers.
Additional insights:  The hero of "Topaz Treasure" is a humanities professor. As a former college professor, I felt a strong affinity towards him. As a brand new professor he taught some very strong anti-religious views which he is now not proud of doing.
The heroine is a substitute teacher who works in her church as a volunteer. The hero is spending the summer helping his brother open a communications store. The heroine is promoting a geocaching event to raise money for her church. She wants the professor to run an ad in the flyer to promote the church event.
As you might expect the conflicts in the story run deep and feel very real. This was not an easy path for the author to take but it was the path that lead to a truly remarkable story.  I now look forward to reading the other three novellas in "Rainbow's End."

“Topaz Treasure” –  5 Stars! Earns Highest Recommendation!



  1. Thank you, Vince. This means a lot to me!

  2. Hi Valerie:

    I like nothing better than finding a superior book to review. I like to have a lot of good things to write about. My reviews are mostly for other writers and as such I like to point out what an author does better than most. This way the book will serve as an example for any other writer who wants to improve that area of their writing. It also helps with my own writing.

    I also thank you for putting so much effort into your writing and for giving me the opportunity to showcase it. I’m looking forward to many more works from your pen. (You can tell I’ve been around for a long time. ☺)