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Where To Buy A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh At The Lowest Price?

A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh

Why Buy A A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh?

New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh weaves a sensuous spell of romance that brings together the unlikeliest pair of lovers in the unlikeliest place of all–an infamous London house of pleasure.

She was unlike any woman he’d ever met in the ton or the demimonde. But Sir Gerald Stapleton frequented Mrs. Blyth’s euphemistically dubbed “finishing school” for pure, uncomplicated pleasure–and nothing else. So why was this confirmed bachelor so thoroughly captivated by one woman in particular? Why did he find himself wondering how such a rare jewel of grace, beauty, and refinement as Priss had ended up a courtesan? And when she needed protection, why did Gerald, who’d sworn he’d never get entangled in affairs of the heart, hasten to set her up as his own pampered mistress to ensure her safety–and have her all to himself?

For Priscilla Wentworth, the path leading to Sir Gerald’s bed had been as filled with misfortune as it suddenly seemed charmed. But Priss couldn’t allow herself to believe she’d ever be more to a man like Sir Gerald than a well-cared-for object of pleasure. Now, despite Gerald’s deep distrust of marriage, neither scandal nor society’s censure can keep them apart–only the fear of trusting their hearts.

Over 16 Five Star Customer Reviews On Amazon!

Shorter but still great historical romance
Mary Balogh, who is by far my favourite modern writer of historical romances, has definitely refined her writing skills over her long career; however it’s always good to read some of her earlier books as there are some great reads in them.

‘A Precious Jewel’ feels in some ways like a prototype for ‘More Than A Mistress’, one of my favourite Balogh books. In this story Priscilla Wentworth is a gentleman’s daughter whose father and brother have died and who is now at the mercy of her nasty cousin who has inherited everything. When he starts making improper advances she leaves his house and travels to London to see her former governess who has set up a finishing school in the hopes that she can gain employment with her. Unfortunately when she arrives at Miss Blythe’s establishment she finds out that the finishing school is actually an extremely high-class brothel. In due course Prissy realises the only way for her to survive financially until her thirtieth birthday (when she inherits some money from her dead mother) is to become a whore, and thus she does. After two months she gets a new client, Sir Gerald Stapleton, who likes her so much that he asks her to be his mistress.

Prissy and Gerald get to know each other much better once she is his mistress. She is still doing a ‘job’, of course, although she is in love with him, but Gerald is beginning to learn about real life through her. Gerald is an unusual hero for this kind of book – he isn’t tall, handsome, witty, but instead is a man of average looks, average intelligence and rather alarming naïveté. He finds the time he spends with Prissy as comfortable, she does what he wants, looks after him and isn’t demanding in any way. Gerald has little experience of love, having been failed by his parents and his stepmother and having sworn off marriage and long-term women.

But spending time with Prissy makes them both begin to reconsider their lives, but when something untoward happens and Prissy breaks it off, both she and Gerald have to find their new places in the world and how to live apart from each other.

Sir Gerald reminded me very much of Freddie Standen in Georgette Heyer’s ‘Cotillion’, the ‘nice but dim’ man who isn’t particularly good at anything but who bumbles through life. Prissy is very much more the stronger character with intelligence, talent and skill but she is able to hide all this so that she can carry out her job. Part of the charm of the story is the way in which these two rather different people bring out the best in each other. Not much is made of Prissy’s job as a prostitute in Miss Blythe’s brothel and I think the repercussions of this might have been rather more significant in the long term than they are shown in this book but it is still a charming and romantic read.

There are a few awkwardnesses in the plot that had to just be glossed over by the reader. I wondered how someone suitable to be governess to a lady might within a few years be running a brothel and who appears very good at it – did she have previous brothel experience, and consequently why on earth was she considered suitable as a lady’s governess? Gerald’s naïveté is also rather strong in places – I wondered how someone so dim at times still had his fortune – but his protective feelings of Prissy showed what a pleasant man he is. He came across as younger perhaps than his 27 years and far from the usual hero but still a man with whom the reader knows Prissy can be happy.

Like pretty much every book Mary Balogh has written, this is a great read and much better than most other books out there in this genre. It’s an earlier work and that shows with less of a plot (for example, in ‘More Than A Mistress’ which has some similarities the heroine is hiding a murderous past and the hero in that book is a much stronger character with his own demons) but the characterisation is still good and the overall experience of reading it one of great enjoyment.

Sweet and Touching!
This is a wonderful book! It actually made me cry and that is really saying something because I *never* cry over books or movies. Bravo to Mary Balogh for being brave enough to write a story set in Regency times with a *working* prostitute for a heroine! I confess that I hate the more typical prostitute-but-still-a-virgin historical romance plotline.

Priscilla Wentworth is an impoverished gentlewoman who has been working in an uppercrust brothel for two months when she first meets the hero, Sir Gerald Stapleton, as one of her clients. Priscilla is a beautiful literary creation–a woman who is able to make lemonade out of the lemons that life has dealt her. She is a strong, intelligent, very sweet woman who has managed to retain her sense of self and dignity despite her sordid profession. Gerald is a less heroic but still incredibly sympathetic character. Not very adventurous, average in looks and intelligence, and feeling betrayed by all the important women in his life, he deliberately avoids any meaningful relationships with women until he meets Prissy. She is so sweet, warm and accommodating that he finds himself drawn to her and eventually sets her up as his mistress. Both Gerald and Prissy are so afraid of getting hurt that they deny their growing affection and try to treat their relationship as a business arrangement.

The love that develops between Gerald and Prissy is very believable, as are the issues that keep them apart. Gerald feels inadequate and cannot bring himself to trust any woman’s love, particularly one like Prissy who has been trained to please and deceive men. Prissy realizes that even if Gerald could ever bring himself to trust and commit–gentlemen do *not* marry women who have been prostitutes (especially known prostitutes with other clients who are members of his own social circle.)

In summary, this is a really unique and heart-wrenching story! Highly recommended!

Don’t pass this one up…….
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 Stapleton at the brothel in which she works/lives. He is a paying customer and she completely dazzles him, not because of her beauty, but because of her sweetness and willingness to be and act exactly as he wants her to. Finally, not being able to bear watching her be abused by other men, he asks her to come under his protection by becoming his mistress. The relationship develops from this point. Let me warn you…it is slow to develop. Sir Gerald is a man with lots of baggage and it takes time for him to trust.

Sir Gerald is in many ways a more tragic character than Priscilla is. The love scenes between these two are some of the most uncomfortable that I have ever read because they are so emotionally unattached and mechanical. The reader soon comes to realize that Gerald is not capable of anything else. He is incapable of giving anything of himself to another human being because he fears rejection and protects himself against pain. He has incredible baggage from his parents and stepmother and it takes him a great deal of the book to come to terms with the ghosts of his past in order to be able to give himself to “Prissy”.

This is not a light romance…if your looking for that check out “The Famous Heroine”. This is an extremely complex and emotional read that will have you hooked in no time. The book evolves as do the characters within it and by the end you will be cheering and crying…..because it had to end.

A wonderful book
Managed to get hold of this out of date book and proves that it is well worth re-visiting this author’s early work. It is a beautiful story, written very compassionately. Has to be one of the best of its genre I have ever read.

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Five Women Who Loved Love: Amorous Tales from 17th-century Japan by Ihara Saikaku – Save 32% Today!

Five Women Who Loved Love: Amorous Tales from 17th-century Japan by Ihara Saikaku

ReviewStory collection written by Ihara Saikaku, published in Japanese in 1686 as Koshoku gonin onna, and considered a masterwork of the Tokugawa period (1603-1867). Five Women Who Loved Love is composed of five separate tales, each divided into five individually titled chapters. They consist of vignettes that reveal the sensual and–of equal interest–financial activities of members of the leisure class, demimonde, and merchant class. — About the AuthorSaikaku Ihara (1641-93), novelist and poet, is credited with founding the genre called ukiyo-zoshi (books of the floating world), a type of popular fiction written between the 1680s and the 1770s. Once downgraded as vulgar, today Saikaku is acclaimed a great realist, largely because of his minute and accurate delineation of characters, customs, and events of his day.

Over 4 Five Star Customer Reviews On Amazon!

These stories are beautifully written, with lively characters, witty plots, and a good mix of humor and tragedy. Moreover, the translation is masterful. This book is an under-recognized gem.

Life is short. Love is long
Ihara Saikaku understood his modern world. A writer of the Genroku Period, considered the golden age of the Edo era, he lived in the perfect flicker of a moment when peace was reigning, arts and leisure were refined, and the flower of the modern era was slowly starting to unfold into what would be the strife that would follow. Ihara knew that the time of the martial masters, the samurai and the daimyo, were over, and the merchant and the golden coin were the true rulers of Japan. Instead of the aristocracy, with their strict Confucian codes of honor and filial piety, he wrote of the townspeople, the rascals and pleasure seekers, the ones who did most of the real living and dying in Japan.

Like in his The Life of an Amorous Man and This Scheming World (Tuttle Classics of Japanese Literature), “Five Women who Loved Love” is about these average folks, specifically of the lives of five woman who were so bold as to seek love and pleasure, in spite of social attitudes about such things. They are not always admirable women, and their loves are not always beautiful. These are not role models for romanticists, and some of them are little more than aggressive pleasure seekers.

But their stories and real. Saikaku often based these stories off of real accounts, writing up semi-fictional versions of them, in order to flesh out the tale and make sure that a nice little moral lesson was included. This was important, as in order to get by the Shoganate censors it was necessary that all the characters were punished for their breaking the rules of society. But these little moral come-uppances are often just tagged on at the end, and one gets the feeling that Saikaku doesn’t really feel that the punishment is fitting the crime. The only crime, in fact, is that these woman wanted love, by whatever definition they applied it.

This Tuttle Press version is also nice in that it contains the original illustrations that were included with Saikaku’s version from 1686. There is also a good essay in the back, by Richard Lane, where the original stories of Saikaku’s Five Women are told, and the real facts are sifted from the fiction. It provides a nice background to the book, and was very enjoyable.

The Price of Love
Ihara Saikaku was a a very gifted writer during Japan’s Genroku Period. After a very successful career as a haikai poet, Saikaku decided to start writing prose. His first book was _The Life of an Amorous Man_ A few years later he wrote this book, which is really in fact 5 independent stories. They all have one unifying feature and that feature is love, Saikaku is also revolutionary with these stories because they are the first in Japanese literature in which females take the lead role and are agressive. Thi book is not _The Tale of Genji_ in which the man makes his move on docile women, but a book in which the women take the motive. The stories deal with young love, infidelity, and the consequences of these loves. Saikaku, the master story teller that he is shows us these characters in a humorous light, and although a few of the characters come to a bad end, the reader is not depressed over their demise, but in fact is happy to have gotten to know the characters even if just for a little while.

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The Book of Salt: A Novel by Monique Truong – Save 20% Today!

The Book of Salt: A Novel by Monique Truong

Why Buy A The Book of Salt: A Novel by Monique Truong?
[He] came to us through an advertisement that I had in desperation put in the newspaper. It began captivatingly for those days: Two American ladies wish to hire . . . It was these lines in The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book that inspired The Book of Salt, a brilliant first novel by an acclaimed Vietnamese American writer.
In Paris, 1934, Binh has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, to the train station for their departure to America. His own destination is unclear: will he go with the Steins, stay in France, or return to his native Vietnam? Binh has fled his homeland in disgrace, leaving behind his malevolent charlatan of a father and his self-sacrificing mother. For five years, he has been the live-in cook at the famous apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus.
Before Binhs decision is revealed, his mesmerizing narrative catapults us back to his youth in French-colonized Vietnam, his years as a galley hand at sea, and his days turning out fragrant repasts for the doyennes of the Lost Generation. Binh knows far more than the contents of the Steins pantry: he knows their routines and intimacies, their manipulations and follies. With wry insight, he views Stein and Toklas ensconced in rueful domesticity.
But is Binhs account reliable? A lost soul, he is a late-night habitue of the Paris demimonde, an exile and an alien, a man of musings and memories, and, possibly, lies. Love is the prize that has eluded him, from his family to the men he has sought out in his far-flung journeys, often at his peril.
Intricate, compelling, and witty, the novel weaves in historical characters, from Stein and Toklas to Paul Robeson and Ho Chi Minh, with remarkable originality. Flavors, seas, sweat, tears — The Book of Salt is an inspired feast of storytelling riches.


  • Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices
  • Condition: NEW
  • ISBN13: 9780618446889
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Over 41 5-Star Customer Reviews On Amazon!

One of the best books of the decade
No need to reiterate the plot, which has been repeatedly well summarized on this site. I can only add that this relatively unknown book is utterly charming and beautifully written. I recommended it to my book club and it was one of only three books (of 80) that we all loved.

A journey
THE BOOK OF SALT is not an easy read but is well worth reading. As its narrator, binh, makes his Candide-like journey across the universe, he makes observations and has experiences which will linger with this reader for a long time to come,. Salt, in many guises, is the unifying thread for the n=many characters, real and fictional, whose stories are tightly woven in the fabric of this novel.

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A Song To Remember [Vhs] Starring Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Cornel Wilde, Nina Foch, George Coulouris

A Song To Remember [Vhs] Starring Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Cornel Wilde, Nina Foch, George Coulouris

Why Buy A A Song To Remember [Vhs] Starring Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Cornel Wilde, Nina Foch, George Coulouris?
The short life and passionate music of romantic composer Frédéric Chopin provide the foundations for this 1945 drama, which proved influential in its gaudy, undeniably watchable formula of historical exaggeration and shrewdly simplified motives for its principals. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Cornel Wilde presents the Polish native as a passionate nationalist driven by his love of his native country and his hatred of its czarist regime, a thematic focus that can be forgiven in light of the political backdrop at the time of the production. Already a prodigy in his native land, where hes mentored by a shamelessly scenery-chewing Paul Muni as Professor Elsner, Chopin flees to Paris where his flashing eyes, dark nimbus of curls, and florid technique earn him stardom, while his involvement with the writer George Sand (a beautiful Merle Oberon, even when draped in then-provocatively masculine garb) introduces a romantic crescendo. Still, the tortured pianist-composer pines for his homeland, frets about its political fate, and begins to wither under the rigors of his new career as ur-superstar; in a typically over-the-top but riveting image, we see drops of blood spatter across the keyboard as he thunders through a recital, gallantly ignoring his failing health to spread his music and, by extension, awareness of Polands fate. Numerous subsequent musical dramas (including two more Song-titled biographies from the same studio) would ply a similar mix of grand gestures and larger-than-life emotions, yet the most interesting comparison to be made is with 1991s Impromptu, a more acerbic spin through the Sand/Chopin affair (and the Parisian demimonde including Alfred DeMusset, Franz Liszt, and Eugene Delacroix) directed by frequent Stephen Sondheim collaborator James Lapine. –Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews & Opinions

A few days ago, thanks to Amazon and a kind gentleman named Ernest who had one to sell, I FINALLY became the proud owner of A Song to Remember on VHS – a little more than 56 years after I saw the actual movie. They say if something’s good enough to want, it’s good enough to wait for, and this is certainly true where this sublime movie and most treasured memory of my childhood is concerned. In 1946, at the age of 9, my well meaning parents (back home in Wales, U.K.) took me to see this movie, without telling me that their main reason was ‘the hope that it would encourage me to put more effort in to my piano lessons’. To their dismay, they soon discovered that, in that respect, they had failed miserably because – after seeing this movie and being introduced to the life and beautiful music of Frederic Chopin, through the incredible combination of Cornel Wilde’s good looks (and excellent acting) and the superb performance of the music itself by Jose Iturbi, I promptly came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t play that well, then I didn’t want to play at all. Not long afterwards, my long suffering piano teacher was relieved (in every sense of the word) of her duties. But from the moment I sat enraptured through that movie, I fell in love with Chopin and his music and made the vow that ‘when I grow up, I’m going to go to Poland and listen to a Chopin recital in the country where it all began’. More than forty years later (and having moved to Canada in the meantime) I achieved that ambition and what a joy it was to hear this wonderful music played by a leading exponent of Chopin’s music from the Warsaw Conservatory. My other ambition was to somehow ‘acquire’ this memorable movie for myself. But I found that to be easier said than done, as all my enquiries came up with an ‘out of print’ response. Then just over a week ago, I saw that Amazon did indeed have one for sale – ‘used’. I knew it was a risk to fork out money for a product that I couldn’t even be sure was in great condition. But I wanted this movie so much, that I ‘boughtit’ immediately, before anyone else could pounce on it. My movie arrived a few days later, just in time for it to be ‘a special birthday gift to myself’. Today was my birthday and one of the biggest treats of my day was to curl up in comfort and watch A Song to Remember in my own home at long last. Oh what memories watching it brought back, and what joy is gave me to finally have this wonderful movie in my possession to play and watch for ever more. I am also happy to say that this ‘used’ tape turned out to be in superb condition, with its picture and sound as good as new. This is one happy movie owner and my thanks to Amazon and Ernest for finally making it possible for me to fulfil a lifelong dream. It means more to me than you would ever imagine! A Song to Remember made it a Birthday to Remember too!!

Freddie meets Sand
A cameo on Frederick Chopin in his short lifespan. Wilde and Oberon give excellent performances and Paul Muni shines in this one. if you like a good story, lovely music and beautiful scenery, this is a classic well worth adding to your collection. Flicks of this quality, once made, will never be made again

Magnificent music and drama
Saw this film when I was a young gal. My friends and I gathered around the popcorn this past week and watched it-enthralled by the amazing finger placement by Cornell Wilde. So believable!
The composers during the Romantic period were God’s gift to us, and their music will live on in our hearts.

If you haven’t seen this one, don’t miss it.

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