By: Patda Jim
Publisher: Warren Publishing Group
Publication Date: November 2011
Reviewed by: Karen Shaw Suriner
Review Date: December 29, 2011
From the moment Marieke spies a very special antique diamond ring in an Amsterdam shop window, her life is transformed by one incredible event after another. To start, the young American businesswoman falls madly in love with the ring’s handsome blond seller Clemens, who falls just as madly for her. Needless to say, she buys the ring…and so begins an adventure that will change her life forever.
The first time Marieke visits LilietjeDal, Clemens’ ancestral family estate, she nearly passes out in the foyer. The family attributes her condition to hunger and a long drive, but Marieke confides to Clemens that upon entering the home she clearly felt an overpowering, yet totally illogical, sense of familiarity with the place.
Interspersed with the chapters of Marieke’s 20th century experiences is the story of Marlene van der Mehr, taking place in Holland one hundred years earlier. Although they live in very different times, the women seem to be linked by a passion and strength of character as well as a devoted love for their chosen companions. Marieke and Clemens are soon blissfully married, as is Marlene to Baron Leonardo Carlotti, the dashing Italian who helps her escape from a disastrous first marriage that nearly kills her.
The lives of Marieke and Marlene continue to intersect as they unfold. Marieke finds herself powerfully drawn to objects that were previously owned by Marlene, which in turn brings her closer to learning about their mysterious connection. At last Marieke discovers the truth: a secret so amazing, so unexpected, that to divulge it would change life irrevocably, not just for herself but for everyone around her as well.
In the same countryside estate, separated by a hundred years, two women rely on their intelligence, resilience, and boundless love to carry on and find happiness despite the tragedies that touch their lives. At its heart, RingGoRound is a story about the triumph of undying love in the face of the changing tides of life.
Though classified as a romance, the multiple storylines in RingGoRound allow the author to include generous amounts of historical mystery and even action. Some of the book’s best moments are its unexpected plot twists. Without mystery and action, the novel has a tendency to dip toward the saccharine. The characters are well developed but not overly imaginative. With one notable exception, the good guys are flawlessly noble – not to mention attractive - and the bad guys are relentlessly rotten.
RingGoRound also keeps to the classic romance tradition of pairing off everyone but the household help. Consider yourself warned.
Readers with an interest in the culture of the Netherlands will be pleased to find Patda Jim’s prose generously sprinkled with affectionately descriptive references to Dutch traditions, history, food, art, and architecture. The family business is an important ongoing plotline, and the descriptions of imported textiles, fashions, and antiques are detailed and lush. The casual decadence of the family’s refined life in both the past and the present will surely appeal to fans of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.
Quill says: A pleasant historical romance-mystery with a cultural twist. Goes well with a glass of wine and a dateless evening.