In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a story of epic love. I enjoy a good Hollywood story, and one of the most fascinating is the coupling of Elizabeth Taylor to Richard Burton. It was an epic love affair that lasted for more than a decade, and one of the most famous, or infamous things about the two stars was Richard’s love of draping Elizabeth in jewels. The most famous of these was the Krupp diamond, a gigantic 33.19 carat diamond ring. As with The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz, the ring provides the inspiration for a story that spans two generations in The Liz Taylor Ring (Amazon).
“In 1978, Lizzie Morgan and Ritchie Schneider embark on a whirlwind romance on the bright beaches and glamorous yachts of Long Island. Over the years, their relationship has its share of ups and downs, including a nine-month hiatus that ends with a stunning eleven-carat ring—one that looks just like the diamond Richard Burton gifted Liz Taylor after their own separation. Like the famous couple, despite the drama that would unfold throughout the Schneiders’ marriage, the ring would be there as a symbol of their love…until it wasn’t.
Decades later, when the lost ring unexpectedly resurfaces, the Schneiders’ three children gather under one roof for the first time in years, eager to get their hands on this beloved, expensive reminder of their departed parents. But determining the fate of the heirloom is no simple task, unearthing old wounds and heartaches the siblings can’t ignore. And when the ring reveals a secret that challenges everything they thought they knew about their parents’ epic love story, they’ll have to decide whether to move forward as a family or let the ring break them once and for all.”
What do three adult siblings do when they find out their mother’s much-beloved 11-carat ring they all thought lost long ago turns up in a safe deposit box of their father’s in the Cayman Islands? That’s what Addy, Nathan and Courtney have to decide. Each has their own memories of the ring and their parents. Addy and Nathan were born when Ritchie and Lizzie first married. Courtney was born years later, after a nine-month separation and reconciliation that included the ring as a peace offering. This is a true family drama, with sprinklings of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton trivia woven throughout the story.
At first, I had a hard time connecting with any of the three children. They’re all screwed up in one way or another, probably because they think of their parent’s marriage as an epic love story, just like Burton and Taylor. But Ritchie has a gambling problem, a serious one, and the ring that symbolizes his great love for his wife is gambled away several times. How does he get away with it? He has an identical ring made with cubic zirconia from the jeweler he got the original from. The jeweler is a gambling buddy and hangs on to the real diamond until Ritchie can afford to buy it back. Throughout the story, which is told in flashbacks and preset day, you have to keep guessing when Lizzie is wearing the real ring or the fake one. She certainly didn’t have a clue. And how did the ring wind up in the Cayman Islands?
Each of the children wants the ring for themself for different reasons. Nathan and Addy, being years older than Courtney, don’t treat her with any respect and hardly have any contact with her prior to the ring resurfacing. Suddenly the three are thrust together under one roof and the old dynamics come into play once more. The children slowly unravel the mystery of the ring as they take stock of their own positions in life.
I thought the story was well presented, but it did take me a while to get invested in these characters. I know gambling is an addiction that needs treatment like any other addictive behavior, but I had little sympathy for this family of gamblers, because fortunes are literally snatched away from them so quickly. I’m a penny pincher (well, duh, my nickname is The Bargain Sleuth 🙂 and to read about people throwing money and jewels around so casually didn’t sit well with me.
After the story is over, there’s a section that mentions all the Elizabeth Taylor references by chapter. I thought that was great for those who might not know Taylor as intimately as people like me do.
Overall, this is another solid entry into Brenda Janowitz’s arsenal of books. I
look forward to see what she does next!
For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com
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