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.
If you read the synopsis, you may expect going into this book that there will be a lot of heartache. And there is plenty of that. But what you might not expect is the humor within the story. This came at the hands of the main male character’s bff.
But let me rewind.
We are first introduced to Fender, the jeweler, who doesn’t believe in love, yet spends his days convincing others to take the plunge. Sort of. To be honest, he’s kind of a strange salesman, I’m not sure how he closes a deal. Maybe it’s the quality of the product he sells. Because his skills at charming the customers seem . . . lacking. Anyway, he seems to make it work, despite his odd nature.
Then one day, a sale changes the lives of three people forever.
One life ends.
One life is without direction.
One life is found.
Fender has good intentions with Ginger, to give her some closure. However, his goofy personality and ineptitude with relationships makes an already difficult situation worse. His new plan, delay, delay, delay. You can see the drama developing a mile away.
Less talking, Fender. The more you talk, the less women like you.
Some might have an issue with a guy being a backup or rebound for a girl like Ginger. But I can assure, he is neither of those things. Without going into detail, it is clear that the other guy may not have been THE guy. Maybe Fender is just the kind of guy Ginger wanted all along.
Just like Fender, his initial sightings and interactions with Ginger are not what you’d expect from a romance book. Running from a funeral, a close call on a ski slope, a crash into a bunny, vomit and more vomit. Sexy! Then you add in Fender’s bff, Sam, and the laughs ensue. Fender and Sam remind me of the Odd Couple – two people are so different from one another and enjoy laughs at their friend’s expense. Yet they are always there for one another. The banter between them is hilarious and was my favorite part of the story.
“You’re a never-ending source of entertainment for me, Fender. I love you, but God, you do stupid things sometimes.”
I also loved the random Princess Bride quotes.
“Have fun storming the castle!”
My biggest problem with the story was that I felt like Fender and Ginger hardly spent any time together. Sure they have their lessons and some dates that end on an odd note. The majority of the story actually seems to be with each character talking or thinking about the other character. So you get the impression that they are meant for each other, yet don’t really get to experience that connection.
Thanks to some meddling friends, things work out for the couple. Tragedy leading to happiness. This is a good read if you are looking for something light, with a blend of laughs and mild angst.
*An ARC was received for an honest review.