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The Exchange    by Inga C. Ellzey order for
by Inga C. Ellzey
Order:  USA  Can
Lambie Books, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

Jewelle Dawson met Frances Wakefield and her husband Gordon on a four-week dream cruise on the luxury ship Emerald of the Seas. Frances, a bestselling author, and Gordon are taking the cruise to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary. But Frances has another agenda for the cruise. To research her next book, she has interviewed Limo Louey, a jewel thief currently in prison. Limo's M.O. was to prey on rich widows. Frances is another mark for Louey. Although she doesn't need money, she craves excitement and agrees to carry stolen jewels across US borders.

Jewelle has rashly eluded her FBI contacts to take the cruise. Seven years ago, Elinore Hanson testified about a multi-million dollar fraud operation that brought down the Gambrelini Crime Family. The FBI put her in witness protection and changed her name to Jewelle. Two men catch Jewelle's eye. Wealthy playboy Max Caldwell who wants no ties, only romance and excitement, is a gambler. Is he gambling with Jewelle's affections? Paul Rosini, handsome widower and pilot, is gentle and romantic. He fascinates Jewelle.

The story comes together in the exotic cities of the Mediterranean as these characters and others merge for fun and adventure. But Jewelle's bubble is about to burst. She has been too free with information about her former life and the Gambrelinis are hot on her trail. Who is her betrayer and who is her friend? Dark secrets are revealed, masks are put aside and a deadly sacrifice benefits Jewelle Dawson.

This four hundred page novel is the author's first. The combination of romance, mystery and adventure makes for an exciting read. In some instances, the characters are almost unbelievable, making the reader wish for a little more depth. Do people make passionate love in an airplane on their sixtieth wedding anniversary? I think not. Where did Jewelle get all the glamorous clothes she wears on the cruise? Are the FBI so generous with people in the witness protection program? And is every heroine as perfect as Jewelle seems to be? We might like her more if she showed a few imperfections.

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