Historical Romance Review: Sapphire by Patricia Matthews

Sapphire, Patricia Matthews, Harlequin, 1989, Max Ginsburg cover art


3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Book

In Patricia Matthews’ late-Victorian era set Sapphire, treasure hunting and separated lovers are the two driving plot points of this 1989 historical romance.

The Plot

Down on her luck, when Englishwoman Regina Paxton hears tales of treasure–jewels–in far-away India, she is immediately intrigued. She forms a strange association with burly, bearded Irishman Brian MacBride. Together, the two travel to India in search of treasure. Their journey is rough and arduous. But together, they make it. And what’s more, they actually find the jewels they were searching for.

Of course, the two bond in various ways, enjoying a quick romantic affair.

Regina and Brian separate, as Brian has never been the settling done type. Unfortunately, for Regina, she’s with a child, and settling down is exactly what she needs to do. So in comes along old what’s his name, Will, a nice, unassuming man, who Regina convinces herself will do. She marries him, all the while knowing she’s pregnant with Brian’s child. Indeed, it’s no surprise to her when her son is born with a red shock of hair.

Then Brian returns to Regina’s world, and the old feelings come rushing back. Brian and Regina’s relationship, however, wasn’t a love story for the ages. In fact, Brian had never shared any words of love with Regina. Yes, Brian is her son’s biological father, but other than that, there was no epic entanglement between the two. Matthews should have made their relationship more intense; then, I would have believed that Regina yearned for Brian for years. But as it is, when Brian is around, Regina can’t think of anything but him.

I believe Regina lusted after Brian, but love? Anyway, I remember feeling bad for her husband when Regina called out Brian’s name during sex.

Final Analysis of Sapphire

Do you know what happens in historical romances where the heroine is married to another man? Well, that’s the conclusion we get here. I don’t know if Brian and Regina earned their happiness, as it came at the cost of another person. For some reason, though, I was entertained by this book, enjoying the first treasure-seeking half, with Brian and Regina traveling to India searching for the eponymous sapphire. Unfortunately, the second half had me disliking the heroine, as she was dishonest about fundamental issues.

I’m rather mixed on this one, but as I didn’t have a bad time reading it, it’s not fair to give Sapphire less than a 3-star rating.

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