And in celebration of the release of their first book in the “Diamonds Down Under” Desire series, this month Maxine Sullivan will review “Diamond Girl”.
Take one playboy boss, his plain assistant secretly in love with him, and throw in an older brother who turns up in time to save the family wine estate, and you have the makings of a Harlequin romance novel. Take that out of Diana Palmer’s 1984 Silhouette Desire “Diamond Girl” and put some of it into a 1998 movie that apparently doesn’t follow the book, and you still have a lovely romantic movie that gives the required happy ending.
I have to admit however, that in the first ten minutes of the movie the characters seemed over-the-top and totally cliched. Denny Montana, the playboy boss, had me wondering how he managed to run a law practice when women and tennis were obviously his game. Claire Barnard, the paralegal, was dowdy but very competent and the brains behind the business. Regan Montana, the older brother, (played by a scrumptious Jonathan Cake) was tall, dark and handsome and so alpha he was a bully. In fact, Claire even called him a bully at one stage.
And then something happened. I forgot these were actors playing characters, and suddenly these characters came to life. At first I thought they had just found their stride but after a while I realized it had probably been deliberate. We had to see how the characters were before they came together so that we could see their character growth throughout the movie. Just like in our romance books.
The plot began to deepen when Regan suggests to Claire they pretend to be lovers. Regan wants his younger brother, Denny, to be jealous so Denny will leave his current mistress, who is pushing Denny to sell the vineyard to an unscrupulous buyer. Regan suggests a makeover for Claire, and then proceeds to turn a “diamond in the rough” into a beautiful “diamond girl”. Of course things backfire on both Regan and Claire when they begin to fall in love with each other.
This movie had an old-fashioned flavour at first but I think that was more to do with how clichéd the characters were at the beginning. Mind you, I don’t find anything wrong with clichés. To me, they’re kind of comforting.
The movie was very polished and the dialogue witty, especially by the heroine, who turned out to be feisty and beautiful.
Regan (in full alpha mode): “When the courier shows up show him where to put my files.”
Claire: “No problem. I’ll show him exactly where to put them.”
The love scene was short but surprisingly passionate, yet it was a little tamer than some of the love scenes in the Harlequin movies to be reviewed in coming months.
And the cover with Claire and Denny on it was misleading as it should have been the heroine and hero, Claire and Regan. Although I did find one cover with Claire and Regan on it:
I give this movie 8 out of 10, not because of the complexity of the plot but for the depth of characterization, the romance, and for the feel-good ending.
Maxine’s book, "Mistress & A Million Dollars", will be released in the US in March and Aus/NZ in April and is the third book in the Silhouette Desire “Diamonds Down Under” series.
If you’d like to win a copy of her book, tell us here what you think of the diamond pendant being offered as the grand prize on the Diamonds Down Under author website and Maxine will pick a lucky winner on January 26th!