Romancing the Rough Diamond (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: Romancing the Rough Diamond (Romancing the… Series)
Author: Clare London
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 256
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


When Mayfair jewelers, Starsmith Stones, wins the commission for a gay royal wedding, CEO Joel Sterling is recommended to the brilliant young designer Matt Barth — only to discover Matt’s the man with whom he shared an anonymous and passionate kiss on the celebration night.

Disenchanted with the commercial jewelry industry, Matt nowadays prefers muddy archaeological digs to designing. Openly resentful of Starsmith’s hostile takeover of his family’s firm, he is horrified at the realization he’ll be working with the man who engineered that deal — but the opportunity to create something fabulous and unique for the royal couple is too tempting to refuse.

Working as a team reignites the spark between Joel and Matt. But when betrayal from within Starsmith threatens both the project and Joel’s confidence, will they have built enough trust to keep their newfound love as precious as the royal jewels?

There’s a royal wedding in the works and Starsmith Stones is in the hunt to win the commission to make rings for Prince Arthur (William and Harry’s gay brother) and his longtime boyfriend Paolo Astra. Starsmith CEO Joel Sterling hires Matt Barth, a brilliant jewelry designer, to work on the commission, but Matt holds a grudge against Starsmith for the takeover of his family’s jewelry business.

Clare London sets the stage with an interesting tale about creating the perfect rings for the royal wedding, paired with a romance between two very different men who nevertheless share a passion for their craft:

Magic, that’s what jewelry is. Or what it can be. Whatever the era, whatever the society. The metals, the gems, they’re ageless. And if the very best designs can tap into that immortal stream of desire, can be truly ageless […] Then that’s the real treasure!

There’s heady attraction and steamy sex between the two, and their working relationship segues nicely into their romantic relationship as they get beyond their initial distrust of one another … until Joel near sprains his arse leaping to an absolutely wrong conclusion about Matt (…. sadly enough tossing my Kindle aside in disgust and snarling “you bloody idiot!” did nothing to change Joel’s mind). This is one of those plot devices I dislike almost as much as the Huge Misunderstanding / Miscommunication that drags on endlessly, yet could be cleared up with a sentence or two.

The ending manages to pull everything together and provide a lovely HEA for Joel and Matt, but I disliked that there had to be a contrived moment that tore apart that hard-earned trust before giving these two their well-deserved happy ending. 3.5 stars for “Romancing the Rough Diamond.”

Romancing the… series

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Galley copy of Romancing the Rough Diamond provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader