The Jewel by Amy Ewing

This book took me by surprise. My instinct is usually to pass on anything with an elaborate dress on the front cover, but this was thoroughly entertaining melodrama. The premise has a hint of The Handmaid’s Tale: girls born with a genetic mutation are taken from their families and institutionalised, trained to be surrogates for the extremely wealthy women who live in an area known as the Jewel. From here we follow the story of Violet, one of 200 girls being sold at auction, who is bought by a Duchess with severe motives and a cruel streak.

Violet is likeable and not too prissy. Sometimes she’s seduced by the luxury of her prison, but mostly she’s down-to-earth, terrified of the prospect of carrying a child, and yearning for a normal existence: love, friendship and, most of all, the freedom to choose her own destiny. The world-building is fairly light and there may be cries of ‘insta-love’ over the romance, but I found this to be a diverting soap opera.

Highly recommended for ages 14 and up.

Emily Gale is a Children’s & YA Specialist at Readings Carlton, and a Children’s & YA writer the rest of the time.

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The Lone City 1: The Jewel

The Lone City 1: The Jewel

Amy Ewing

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