The Girl With the Pendant Pearl


Christian - Fiction
452 Pages
Reviewed on 09/27/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

The Girl with the Pendant Pearl surprised me. Yes, I first thought I’d be seeing an imitation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I found a pearl, a treasure, an original piece in the romance and mystery genres. Maria Valentino is a culinary graduate with a past she’d love to hide from everyone, more so now that she’s madly in love with the attractive chef in the French Quarter, Roman Robideaux. But the past seems to follow people wherever they go and Maria’s comes in the form of her rapist. When she thinks she can move on and enjoy a serene, beautiful relationship, there comes the rapist, right in the very street she and her lover are just so used to. Can things be the way she’d dreamed they’d be?

If you’re looking for an interesting story with compelling and well-developed characters, then The Girl with the Pendant Pearl is one that will grab your attention all the way. James Pumpelly’s writing is impeccable, laced with axioms and powerful images that inject life into the story. The descriptions are vivid, and the expressions so warm and poetic that readers can read with the heart. The story features a powerful conflict centered on crime, love, and one woman’s struggle to come to grips with her past while hanging desperately onto a relationship that could mean the world to her. The drama moves on with great intensity and readers get excited about the outcome, which is satisfactory. James Pumpelly is a master storyteller with the rare ability to integrate powerful elements of characterization with a moving plot set in a very beautiful cultural milieu.

Sefina Hawke

The Girl with the Pendant Pearl by James Pumpelly is a Christian fiction read that will appeal most to an audience made up primarily of adult and young adult females with an interest in the culinary arts, New Orleans, Christian women’s fiction, and strong female characters. The story follows Maria Valentino, a culinary graduate that eventually falls in love with a chef in the French Quarter called Roman Robideaux. The only thing holding her back from true love is a dark secret from her past; when Maria Valentino was in Florida she was raped on a beach. Now the rapist is in New Orleans and Maria Valentino is faced with a difficult set of decisions.

The Girl with the Pendant Pearl by James Pumpelly first pulled me in with its beautiful cover that really indicates the book is set in New Orleans. The next aspect that I enjoyed was the fact that it was as realistic as possible while still being fiction. The rape is not glossed over; instead it is portrayed as the awful thing that it is. While I did not like such as dreadful thing happening to Maria Valentino, it was still an important aspect of the story and it is what caused her growth in character and development as she had to be strong in the face of such evil.

Romuald Dzemo

The Girl with the Pendant Pearl by James Pumpelly is fascinating in many respects, a powerful tale of love, secrets, and, of course, redemption. Maria Valentino falls in love with a very charming man, Roman Robideaux, a French Quarter chef, and her life is almost a song, but then her past comes back to haunt her when she meets the same man who raped her before. Set in a beautiful Louisiana milieu with its colorful culture and rich history, this story will find a certain home with fans of mystery and romance.

The plot is riveting, flowing like drippings of the honeycomb. But there is something that readers will enjoy as much as the fast-paced plot and the complex characters – the beauty of the language, brimming with vivid descriptions and powerful statements about life. The very first statement offers insight into life and invites the reader to reflective thought: “The line between confusion and clarity is a fine one, the length of an instant. Quick as a thought, it’s the sudden awareness of when to stop, the heartbeat between feat and failure, fear and felicity.” But then the very evocative, creative and humorous way the author describes people and scenes will delight most readers. The narrator describes her mother’s laughter as “musical, like glitter in darkness, or moonbeams dappling the hyacinths on the bayou…”

The use of the first person narrative is masterful and the clear, beautiful voice of the narrator is irresistible. Here is a lovely romance charged with conflict and action, but that contains the lure of beautiful prose. James Pumpelly’s The Girl with the Pendant Pearl is a delightful read!

Ruffina Oserio

James Pumpelly’s The Girl with the Pendant Pearl is yet another brilliant and heartwarming story I have read in a while. A girl has a very sad experience of rape, struggles to move past it and to heal, only to see the man who raped her re-enter the scene just when she is developing a beautiful relationship with the man of her dreams. Does she have the courage to face her past, and what if the past can destroy the hope of a future she’d dreamed of all along?

I loved the narrative voice and how it grabs the reader’s attention. Narrated in the first person, the author uses a style that draws the reader irresistibly into the psychology of the protagonist, occasionally offering insights about life and translating the human condition into a language that is very metaphorical and touching. The plot is beautifully designed, unpredictable, and sprinkled with surprises and dramatic moments that will have readers engaged throughout the story. There is no doubt that James Pumpelly has a wonderful gift for character and plot. Maria Valentino is so compelling and interesting a character that readers can’t resist falling for her. I enjoyed the way the author explored her psychological side and how she develops through the conflict.

From the writing to the plot and character development, The Girl with the Pendant Pearl scores successfully on all levels and will undoubtedly be a satisfying read for lovers of Christian fiction. A very human and entertaining story. This is a book to read and then pass on, a gift that will entertain readers without any doubt.

Ryan Jordan

The Girl With the Pendant Pearl by James Pumpelly is a vivid and engaging romantic read about struggling with a dark past while trying to move forward with one's life. When Maria Valentino falls in love with Roman Robideaux, it seems like everything is finally coming together for her and her life will be able to move on from a terrible event in her past. However, things quickly spiral out of control for our young heroine when her assailant shows up in Louisiana, seemingly stepping right out of her past, and forces her to confront the tragic situation of her rape at his hands and the lies she's been telling Roman to get her life back on track.

This book handles a very sensitive topic while managing to not be offensive or heavy-handed, which is an impressive feat. The author does a brilliant job of describing the French Quarter and all the sights and sounds that bring that world to life. I've never been to Louisiana, but the book was so descriptive that I feel like I know what it would be like to walk down the streets and experience the city. The author did an excellent job of blending a lot of different genres together to tell this story, and it managed to capture the essence of this girl's struggle by making her relatable and her situation feel both daunting and something she can overcome. The story has a happy ending and is easy to root for. The Girl With the Pendant Pearl by James Pumpelly is a real winner and does an amazing job of telling a compelling and uplifting story.