Colorado Connections: The Jewel Thief, by Jeannie Mobley
Confession: I have been waiting to read this book for years. At a Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI conference lunch table, I asked award-winning Colorado author Jeannie Mobley about her work in progress. I’d loved her earlier MG novels (Katerina’s Wish, Searching for Silverheels, and Bobby Lee Claremont and the Criminal Element). Jeannie described her latest research, on the earliest incarnation of what is now the Hope Diamond. I have always had a special fondness for that gem. When I was young, an amethyst that had been found on my family’s farm shared a room at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History with the Hope Diamond. Living nearby, we visited it often.
Confession: The book itself is a confession. Juliette Pitau, daughter of the Crown Jeweler to King Louis XIV of France, has resorted to lies, seduction and theft to save her father, her friends, and the diamond known, in its uncut form, as the Tavernier Violet. But the diamond is missing, and the Sun King has given Juliette one day to make her confession and produce the stone before she is executed. The catch? René, the scribe charged with writing Juliette’s confession, is the man she loves, the man who once loved her. And her story will only hurt him more.
In writing The Jewel Thief, Mobley worked with the few known facts about the Tavernier Violet: that Jean Pitau, the Crown Jeweler, was charged by Louis XIV with cutting the stone in a new style that had only been achieved a few times before (and those by some other, unknown jeweler) — and that the stone itself was the wrong size for this cut. From there, she imagined Jean’s daughter, Juliette, a girl whose stubborn refusal to give up initially leads everyone around her to ruin. Mobley created a novel that is part history, part suspense, and part romance — and is as captivating as the diamond itself.
- YA readers and adults who relish being swept away to another time and place,
- STEM-loving fiction readers who will appreciate the meticulously researched details of the craft of gem cutting, and
- Readers of romance, royalty, and adventure — and Francophiles!
“Before you die, you will tell me what you have done with my diamond.”
“When we have the means to control the angles precisely, we can become gods, Juliette, molding light as easily as clay.”
Publisher: Viking Books (2020)
Age range: YA (12 and up)