Official Review: The Brooch by Renee Bramlet

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ViziVoir
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Official Review: The Brooch by Renee Bramlet

Post by ViziVoir » 18 Apr 2019, 22:04

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Brooch" by Renee Bramlet.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
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The Brooch by Renee Bramlet follows Macy, a working woman who has always led a fairly pragmatic lifestyle. She receives a marriage proposal from her boss, Quentin, who wants her to leave her hometown to move with him, but her relationship with her elderly grandmother keeps her from accepting his offer. While trying to recreate an antique costume jewelry brooch for her grandmother's birthday, she meets Tim, a jewelry salesman. Despite Quentin's proposal, she falls in love with Tim in the course of about two weeks. Ultimately, she is torn between making the "safe" choice with Quentin and following her heart with Tim, a conflict which is far from unfamiliar to avid readers of romance novels.

The most unique aspects of the story are fairly obvious: the search for the brooch and Macy's relationship with her grandmother. Indeed, this is the source of the most compelling aspects of the narrative. Macy's grandmother raised her from childhood, and their relationship is charming and often quite entertaining. Unfortunately, their interactions are bogged down by the book's romantic relationships. The search for the brooch itself, which could've brought Macy and Tim to some very interesting places, is boiled down to little more than them going to nondescript stores and searching for a specific gemstone. There's promise here, but if anything, the romantic themes hinder it.

Other than Macy's grandmother, most of the characters seem like one-note stereotypes. Both Macy and Tim have sex-obsessed best friends who urge them to behave impulsively. Tim himself is a prototypical love interest, with a limited selection of hobbies that happen to match Macy's own and a body that is the theoretical ideal of male beauty. Quentin is literally out of the picture for most of the book due to a business trip, reducing him to a narrative device meant to exhibit Macy's indecision and lack of trust, and Macy seems to take on whatever traits the author found convenient when writing that part of the plot. These traits are often contradictory, as well - for example, Macy has a great deal of skill at her job, but she is also so childishly impulsive as to hold her breath until she gets what she wants.

The writing doesn't work on a scene-by-scene level, either. This is perhaps best illustrated by the scene where Tim and Macy are in a restaurant talking about how people are unhappy because they behave the way they're expected to. In the background, a man delivers a speech about how he always knew his son would follow in his footsteps to become a lawyer, but he is stopped when Macy accidentally flings a mint directly into his mouth. He begins choking, and the mint flies out of his mouth and lands directly in Macy's hand. This comes off as confusing and implausible, rather than humorous, as I believe it was intended to be. Moreover, it hammers home the fact that Macy would be happier following her heart in a manner that's painfully on-the-nose.

Ultimately, while Macy's relationship with her grandmother is interesting, it isn't enough to make up for the dry, worn-out romance elements and uninteresting main characters, so I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. It is edited fairly poorly as well, with several misspellings and a slew of unnecessarily capitalized words. If you relate strongly to characters who are trapped in relationships that may not be the best choice for them, you might find something to enjoy in this book, but fans of romance books as a whole should look elsewhere. Due to its sexual content, it isn't appropriate for younger readers.

******
The Brooch
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Stephanie Elizabeth
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 20 Apr 2019, 06:57

Sounds like a heart-warming story with a truly unique plot. I don't think I have ever read a book where the granddaughter-grandmother relationship is the main focus.
Great review!

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Post by CharlizeGwapa » 20 Apr 2019, 06:59

From reading the review, I could say that this story is adequate in today's modern world. Interesting book.

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Post by Ellylion » 20 Apr 2019, 07:08

Thank you for the honest review! The cover of the book is eye-catching and promises some vintage love story :) Too pity that the book is full of banalities, but the brooch story line still sounds interesting.

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Post by Janelle Juncos » 20 Apr 2019, 08:15

That mint scene, though! That reminds me of something that would happen in a Jack Black movie. We do not tolerate slapstick in our novels, people! You've written an excellent review here. The plot sounded interesting, but it's definitely not worth a second look if the characters are as empty as you say.

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Post by kandscreeley » 20 Apr 2019, 10:55

It seems like this is much too stereotypical of a romance. It isn't my genre to begin with; if I were to read it, it would have to really be something special. Therefore I'll pass. I hope the author does a bit of revision on this one. Thanks.
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Post by Nyambura Githui » 20 Apr 2019, 13:19

Great review, but the book doesn't sound intriguing. Romance isn't my genre, so I'll pass.

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Post by flaming_quills » 20 Apr 2019, 15:56

Great review. I don't think I'll be reading this one. I don't usually mind romance but the way it dominates this book sounds like it will be a pain for me to get through.

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Post by Dentarthurdent » 21 Apr 2019, 10:11

ViziVoir wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 22:04
There's promise here, but if anything, the romantic themes hinder it.

Other than Macy's grandmother, most of the characters seem like one-note stereotypes. Both Macy and Tim have sex-obsessed best friends who urge them to behave impulsively. Tim himself is a prototypical love interest, with a limited selection of hobbies that happen to match Macy's own and a body that is the theoretical ideal of male beauty. Quentin is literally out of the picture for most of the book due to a business trip, reducing him to a narrative device meant to exhibit Macy's indecision and lack of trust, and Macy seems to take on whatever traits the author found convenient when writing that part of the plot. These traits are often contradictory, as well - for example, Macy has a great deal of skill at her job, but she is also so childishly impulsive as to hold her breath until she gets what she wants.
It seems as though an interesting concept has been crippled by a generic, not to mention overdone, romance. This unfortunate scenario is sadly all too common in the genre. It somehow feels as though the entire brooch situation was engineered to give the characters the two weeks they apparently needed to fall in love, while personally, I believe the adventure, interaction, and subsequent love should be the result, not the cause, of the concept the book is named for.

I love the descriptive way you have gone about explaining your rather insightful views, which leaves a reader very satisfied with your review and rating. Great job!
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Post by ElizaBeth Adams » 21 Apr 2019, 22:20

The cover of this one caught my eye. It's a shame that it seems to miss the mark on so many levels. Thanks for an excellent review.

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Post by Prisallen » 22 Apr 2019, 15:11

I do like romance novels, but, it doesn't seem as if there is anything new here except the grandmother and the search for the brooch, as you said. Thanks for a wonderful review!

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Post by kdstrack » 22 Apr 2019, 19:30

It does sound like the same old story line: woman must choose between two suitors. Wish it would have lived up to its promise. Thanks for your insightful comments on this book.

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Post by Moushmi Radhanpara » 23 Apr 2019, 03:35

The review was nicely done, but I don't think I will be reading it. Too much romance is anyways, not my thing.

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Post by lucia_kizas » 25 Apr 2019, 04:26

Great review. I generally prefer romance in every story I read (even Les Miserables has a love story in it :) ), but this book sounds like a typical Hallmark romance, though. No high stakes, nothing crucial to lose... I agree with you, the plot had a lot of potential, yet unused.

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Post by ojosam94 » 25 Apr 2019, 04:32

the review is quiet fair.
concerning the misspellings as stated above, I think its a major point of emphasis to be considered by the author though I like the story lines.

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