Fender Barnes profits from an institution he doesn’t believe in: marriage. He’s a talented designer, but a reluctant jewelry store owner, thanks to his pop’s retirement. He’s cynical, he’s jaded, he’s not entirely certain about the concept of love, but he’s happy to sell an eager young guy an engagement ring for his fiancée to be—until moments after the transaction when that eager guy is hit by a car and killed, and Fender’s conscience pays a rare visit.
He retrieves the ring and decides to find the woman his customer intended to marry. That woman turns out to be Ginger Stevens, twenty-something ski instructor, who—despite being full of guilt and self-doubt after the death of her boyfriend—is someone Fender finds he quite enjoys being around. He’s smitten.
Which is all well and good, except that after he meets her, Fender can’t do it. Though it’s right there in his pocket, he can’t tell her about the ring. Instead, he embarks on a long, ridiculous quest to find a way to tell her the truth he knows she deserves. Aided by advice from Pop and the antics of his best friend Sam, Fender tries desperately to juggle his budding romance with the reality he knows could ruin it.
Will he find love or foul it up? Can Ginger move out of the past to embrace what the future has to offer? Meet this unlikely pair in Beck Anderson’s heartfelt and fabulously funny second novel, The Jeweler.
Fender Barnes spends his days enabling those lost in love. Couple after couple comes into his jewelry store buying and enhancing love in the form of diamonds in platinum settings. With the divorce rate being what it is, Fender has very little respect for love and even less for the institution of marriage but he has to pay the bills and so he continues to enable the fools in love. Case in point, the guy who comes in right at closing time to buy an engagement for his girlfriend. The guy is intent on buying “the perfect” ring and thus ensuring a happily ever after and Fender is intent in dumping a custom ring that was never claimed. Though Fender gets his way, the man does not for seconds after leaving the jewelry store, the man is struck down on the sidewalk by a car.
For months following the death of her boyfriend, Ginger Stevens has struggled to get back on her feet. Though she misses her boyfriend, part of the struggle comes from facing the fact that he may not have been her forever man. Ginger is somewhat of a free spirit with a love of skiing, skate boarding and, nature. For the time she was with her boyfriend, Ginger often gave into his desires for her life and abandoned some of the things she loved in favor of her relationship. With his death, Ginger has slowly begun to reclaim her life and some of the reclamation includes working as a ski instructor. On the mountain, Ginger can not only support herself but indulge in two of the things she loves most, nature and skiing. Her clients range from dynamic and fearless kids to free-wheeling blue hairs who love to spend the day with Ginger as much as on the slopes.
Convinced he should give Ginger the engagement ring that was meant for her, Fender arranges a private ski lesson and quickly figures out two things, he actually likes Ginger and, he is a terrible skier. Braking Ginger’s heart is the last thing Fender wants to do and with every encounter, he falls a little more in like with her and finds yet another excuse not to give her the ring. As the weeks drag on, Ginger becomes increasingly more interested in Fender but knows he is hiding something. When the truth finally comes out, Ginger has to not only deal with the knowledge that she was more than just a girlfriend, the harsh reality of what her answer to “Will you marry me?” would have been and, her now totally confused feelings for Fender.
The Bottom Line: The Jeweler is Anderson’s second novel and like her first, I found it to be a decent though not overly exciting read. Ginger is not necessarily broken by the loss of her boyfriend but more by the truth of her feelings for him. She feels guilty over her true feelings and liking Fender only enhances her guilt. Fender is basically a lost soul with no belief in love until he meets Ginger but he meets her under false pretenses and out of fear of losing her, waits far too long to tell her about the ring. Like Fix You, The Jeweler is a sweet love story that holds very few surprises. With that being said, this sweet, heartfelt romance will appeal to lovers of the genre and fans of HEAs.
Beck Anderson loves to write about love and its power to heal and grow people past their many imperfections. She is a firm believer in the phrase “mistakes are for learning” and uses it frequently to guide her in writing life and real life. Beck balances (clumsily at best) writing novels and screenplays, working full-time as an educator, mothering two pre-teen males, loving one post-40 husband, and making time to walk the foothills of Boise, Idaho, with Stefano DiMera Delfino Anderson, the suavest Chihuahua north of the border.