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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on March 1, 2003
This is the story of a young English girl named Sunny, who is raised in the Middle East and then returns to the place of her birth when she is thirteen. Basically, the first part of the book is about her voyage back to England and her adjustment to a different way of life once she is reunited with her family. The second part of the book deals with Sunny's growing up, finding Christ, and finally, coming to terms with her love for Brandon Hawksbury.
I was never bored while reading this story and enjoyed the trouble Sunny was always getting into. I could relate to the way that Sunny was always searching for something to fill the emptyness in her life, an emptyness that can only be filled by God. I especially enjoyed the feeling of family that this book portrayed. The leading characters were not always perfect. Brandon was slightly judgemental and bossy at times, and Sunny was somewhat impulsive, but I think that it's the characters flaws that make them so real. All in all, this is an entertaining read with a good Christian message.
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on November 26, 2001
After wearing out the copy at my local library, I decided it was time to buy my own copy of The Hawk and the Jewel. It was well worth it as I have read it many times since. I have been a reader my entire life, but Lori Wick is by far the most captivating author I have ever read. Perhaps it is because I should have been born in the eighteenth century, but Wick's series "Kensington Chronicles," from which this book comes, is one to read over and over.
Set in the English days of dukes and duchesses, peasants and servants, this novel relates the story of a young girl named Sunny and her coming to grips with herself, the Lord, and love. You will be captured into the moving story as Sunny learns that her family is not what she thought it was and is thrust into a new life completely different from anything she has ever known. You will feel Brandon's compassion as he watches Sunny try to cope with the hurt and betrayal she feels. You will rejoice with her family when she comes to know the Lord, and cry with her when she feels the knife of rejection. You will laugh at her spirited ideas, and feel the magic surrounding her as she grows older. You will experience Brandon's pain as his life seems to come crashing around him, and want to hold Holly as she deals with an unrequited love. If you are a lover of fairy tales, or simply want to get lost in a good story, allow Lori Wick to take you back a few hundred years and live in England for awhile. You will fall in love with it.
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on November 16, 2001
I found this novel's beginning intriguing and leaped into reading it. Wick captures the emotional upheaval of a thirteen-year-old going home to a family that unknown to her believed that she had drowned at sea as a toddler. The hero, Brandon, a family connection sent to bring her home when the family learns that she is still alive, blends firmness and compassion, and I wondered how Sunny's family would welcome her. My ultimate reaction to the book was mixed.
Liking Christian elements in books, if they aren't simplistic or inserted artificially, I found _The Hawk and the Jewel_ good but wanting. We never hear of Sunny's family attending church, except for two weddings late in the book. Church attendance seemed a naturally unfamiliar experience to show the wilful Sunny adjusting to upon reaching England. Also the person who eventually leads Sunny to her conversion surprised me, not because she has not shown herself to be a friend but because Wick gives no indication beforehand (through the first 4/5 of the story) that this character ever prays or has accepted Christ, beyond her being kind. Beyond those quibbles, the Christianity seemed a natural part of plot and characters.
Unfortunately before I could judge the book's Christian threads, problems kept jerking me out of the mid-1800's and my curiosity about the story. The problems came mostly in Wick's word choices, which repeatedly cracked the illusion of another time and place.
I found it hard to believe in Victorian English women's being named things like Sunny, Chelsea, Andrea, Caren, and Leslie (some of these names existed then but seldom as women's names). Not one character comments on such remarkable naming. Had just one or two of these names occurred, I'd have ignored them better, but Wick piles one upon another, giving most to major characters. Their pile-up without comment strained my belief, esp. since Sunny is named for her grandmother, which required me to accept that a name I already found incredible for a woman 170 years ago had gone back to the previous century.
Further, conversations between characters repeatedly sound like talk among late twentieth-century people or among Americans, instead of natives of England. Sunny's oldest brother tells his sister and brother-in-law, "I want to share" for "I want to tell you about," and then mentions "your _parenting skills_," which didn't sound at all Victorian. Several chapters earlier his wife calls for the attention of some children by saying, "O.K." O.K. was new _American_ slang when the story occurs; although Chelsea is described as having been wild as a girl, she is old enough to expect criticism for using slang when addressing a group of her and others' children. Also, although I cannot say for certain that _no_ Victorian Englishwoman called her mother- or father-in-law by first name, I wondered whether most Victorian English people wouldn't have thought Wick's characters who do so were disrespectful, rather than lovingly informal, as Wick may have intended it. These and words used by the author, like bloomers for ordinary ladies' underpants (which bloomers definitely were not in the mid-19th century, being at first a very controversial ensemble of trousers and shortened skirts that American Amelia Bloomer's cousin had not yet designed at the time of the story, as Wick could have learned from many high-school U.S. history books) and other words that might have been period-correct but sounded more modern and American to me meant that I was repeatedly falling out of and reentering the story while shoving aside annoyance with author and editor.
I tried, after the first third of the story, to read it not as a historical novel but as a fairy tale with Christian elements and Victorian costumes, but only after setting the book aside for an entire year did I manage to get more than halfway through without beginning to skim. Upon restarting the book this year with lower expectations than losing myself in a historical novel --as well as by reading the talking book version this time (talking books are unabridged recordings) instead of the Braille version I had last year--I couldn't forget what bothered me but was able to appreciate the well-developed characters and the story and finished without skimming. I thought that Sunny's reactions to the unexpected, drastic change of moving from the Middle East to England without being asked whether she wanted to, as well as her relatives' reactions, were well-portrayed, and I was glad that Wick did not fall into the stereotype of having Sunny's relatives look down their noses at her for her awkwardness. Her teenage nephew Miles's feelings for a beautiful, young aunt he has just met seemed realistic, and his sister Holly's attempted solution to her brother's attraction is entertaining. The "other woman" with whom Brandon believes himself in love enough to marry also avoids the stereotypes of this stock character of romances, and the subplot involving Holly's long-unrequited love blossoms beautifully.
If you want a romance with fairly well-blended Christian elements and characters who are generally complex enough to be interesting, and if you do not care whether historical details have been checked--or maybe they were incorrectly changed by a misinformed copyeditor--then you will likely enjoy this book, but if you want more convincing historical or English atmosphere, you may have trouble staying lost in the story. I will give Lori Wick another chance, in case she suffered the misfortune of misinformed editors or just stumbled in what seems to have been her first English setting, but I'll be reading with uneasiness.
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on May 5, 1999
In order to be as concise as possible, let us restrain our discussion merely to the heroine herself. Sunny is described as being so beautiful that ever since she was 12 years old, grown men fall in love with her at first sight. However, even though she has a mirror, she is apparently totally unaware of her beauty and hates to have people look at her. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think a character that daft deserves to have 347 pages devoted to her exploits. Also, it bothers me that throughout the entire novel, Sunny's beauty is a major issue. I know that it is nice to have a heroine who is pretty as opposed to being ugly, but when her dark rippling hair and sparkling violet eyes (oh, please) have to be mentioned every single time she makes an appearance, I think it is going overboard. The message coming across is that her beauty is her most important feature; any intelligence or character that she possesses are just added bonuses. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't a person (or a character in a novel) be valued for who they are and their appearance be an afterthought? (Especially since we don't have to see the person and after the initial description we don't care what they look like anyway). Sunny's superficiality is only one of the many unsatisfying things about this stiff, unnatural novel. Frankly, there are much better things you could be doing with your time than reading "The Hawk and the Jewel".
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on May 3, 1999
Because Lori Wick has been hailed by so many as a great Christian author, I decided to give this book a try. A little tip for anyone else who is thinking along these lines: stick with Francine Rivers. I liked the first chapter or so of "The Hawk and the Jewel", but once the plot actually began to develop I found it forced and banal. Halfway through the book, I was skimming over the gratingly stilted dialogue, feeling mild frustration at the ridiculous characterization, and generally forcing myself to read this laborous burden of a novel. I finally decided to do myself a favor and stop reading it altogether before I got too massively depressed. It made me think that I was the only person left in the Christian world with any sort of literary standards. Consider for a minute what sort of message we, as the Christian community, are sending the secular world when this is the best we have to offer. Despite the fact that it is NOT good writing, the Christians in the book are well-meaning, but ineffective. They show no cultural sensitivity to this poor girl who has been raised in a totally different environment than them, but instead expect and force her to comply to their ways of living in all areas; then they piously, clumsily, and incessantly "witness" to her. What's up with that? Where's the compassion, the discernment, the humility that marked Christ, the man these sort of books are supposedly reflecting? I encourage all of you out there who ache, as I do, for great literature with a profound and eternal message not to swallow everything with a Christian label on it. Don't be afraid to criticize. Until some of us start standing up and demanding excellence in the arts, Christian artists as a whole will stay addicted to mediocrity.
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on October 25, 1996
I had never read a Christian fiction book before and wasn't interested in starting, especially not a "romance" novel. Several friends recommended this author but I still declined. But since I was a librarian this book kept appearing over and over we had to get another copy because it was checked out so frequently. Finally I gave in and took it home. I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the character development, could identify with their feelings, and loved the Christian perspective intelligently portrayed. Because I was so entertained, and encouraged by this book I have read all of her books and several other Christian fictian novels. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book or any book by Lori Wick. Young and old will anticipate each turn of the page. One friend read these books aloud to her older elementary school age children. But beware reading these books once may not be enoug
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on July 9, 2003
As a huge fan of Lori Wick, I couldn't wait to read this book and of course, she didn't disappoint me. I enjoyed this book and I thoroughly enjoyed "watching" Sunny blossom from a stubborn, independent girl into a serene, beautiful young woman. However, I do feel that certain parts of the book could've been developed a little more such as the mystery with the box and the emir. The back of the book made it seem like there would be much more to that part of the story and I was filled with much anticipation, so when I got to the part when Sunny and the emir had their last confrontation I was highly disappointed. I also definitely wish (as a hopeless romantic) that she would've united Brandon and Sunny much sooner in the book.
Other than that I believe the book to be well-written, very entertaining and also very inspiring. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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on March 7, 2000
This book captured my interest, as most Lori Wick books do. Sunny and Brandon were engaging characters, and I found myself humored with Sunny's constant exploits and adventures. I did find that Ms. Wick did talk quite a bit of Sunny's beauty, and the fact that Sunny didn't recognize it was usual. Some girls are told that they are beautiful, but don't believe it. I also found that Ms. Wick also told us often that Sunny could hide her emotions so well that no one could tell what she was thinking. I wish I could hide my emotions that well. Considering where Sunny spent her first thirteen years, this seems quite logical to me. I liked how Ms. Wick didn't have Sunny fall into Brandon's arms the first time he kissed her. This book was great reading! Please, do waste a few hours on this book!
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on June 16, 2002
WOW!! Lori Wick has once again done an amazing job with The Hawk and the Jewel. The ways she describes the characters makes us feel as though we know them personally. I have read this book about 4 or 5 times and plan on reading it again. As I write this review I am supposed to be working on my Book Festival Project for which I'm doing The Hawk and the Jewel. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone who wants to read a good story. It's absolutely amazing and captivates you right from the introduction and will keep you reading non-stop right through to the end. This book is a MUST READ!!! Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!! It's all I can say! BUY THE HAWK AND THE JEWEL TODAY!!!!!
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on March 19, 2001
This is one of the very first Lori Wick books I ever read. The first time I read it I couldn't put it down! I read it all in one sitting. That was five years ago, the book is still one of my favorites and now I'm a Lori Wick addict! The Hawk and The Jewel is a wonderful story full of excitement and romance. Both the plot and the characters are well developed and entertaining. The romance between the two lead characters is absolutely priceless! I thought this book was on the same level as some of Wick's best work, such as Sophie's Heart and Where the Wild Rose Blooms. If you liked this series you'll also enjoy Wick's The Californians series.
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