I came across this winter-time review from before I even had this blog (yes, I wrote reviews just for myself) and it brought back such happy memories of this book I decided to go public with it. Happy Friday!
Brilliant (Kick Keswick, #1) by Marne Davis Kellogg
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication date: June 14th 2004
Maybe it’s the grey on grey days or simply my misguided decision to try and read War and Peace several weeks ago but in the past week I have felt an intense need for reading that would amuse and relax me. No sweeping sagas of epic theme, no alcoholic memoirs (Lit), just pleasure. Pure pleasure.
I don’t like to get all weird about it but often when I feel a need about reading, the perfect book falls into my hand. This is one of the perks of volunteering in a library. I’m exposed to thousands of books but many of them are of no interest at all (science fiction? Please, no). It just happens that the right one moves itself out of alignment and more to the front of a shelf. This was the case when I saw Marne Kellogg’s Brilliant. The fact that it has diamonds on the front cover had nothing to do with it.
Without getting into too much hoity-toity review-speak (which I’m not even sure I could pull off) this is a great read. Brilliant perfectly fills the space between chick lit (which I love, so don’t cramp) and literature. Chick lit is so frothy and fun that your mind leaves the book as soon as you put it down. Literature may stay with you but not always in a good way. It requires concentration and sometimes, for me, re-reading of paragraphs. Enjoyable in its way but still kind of…work. Brilliant hooked me in the first ten pages and made me want to continue reading. I wasn’t haunted or plagued by it but looked forward to picking it up again.
Brilliant is about Kick Keswick, a seemingly innocuous executive assistant who is in reality, a jewel thief. She’s forty-something, plump, intelligent, feisty, and lives alone. She likes the good life and her independence, both qualities I prize in a heroine. She works at a prestigious auction house which provides several exciting back stories and just enough intrigue to keep the reader surprised.
Kellogg seamlessly imbues the text with Keswick’s dry, witty tone. It’s very neatly done and told from Kick’s perspective the improbable seems plausible. Add to that intricate details on the making of fine jewelry, from the different type of stones and their grades to how to properly set them in precious metals and you’re left looking at the results of either a lot of research or Kellogg was a jeweler in a previous life. I appreciate details in my books. It means I can’t skim which is an unfortunate habit left over from college (not ALL the time, just when something bores me- like all of the pages about war in War & Peace).
Brilliant is a great anecdote to the fall/winter blahs. Not too arduous but thoroughly engaging and enjoyable. You’ll cheer for Kick as her ‘bland’ exterior allows her to move through the world unseen but leaving her mark. The best news is there are three more books in the series. Oh happy day! I’ve already checked two of them out and will be heading back into Kick’s world tonight. Join me and let me know what you think.
One more note: I have read the entire series by now and continued to be enchanted by Kick and by Kellogg’s writing. The bad news is that she has not written anything new since 2013. I’ve tried to reason with her about this but with a restraining order in place there is only so much I can do. (that is a joke, seriously, a joke)
Jennine G. says
Now that’s dedication – writing reviews for yourself!