Reviewed by Lori Fox
"Well written ... fascinating and realistic characters."
Lily Chau has always wanted her own fashion line---and a husband. But when the Nia Network asks her to be a contestant on The Next Design Diva, a new reality show, Lily backs out. Her long-term boyfriend still hasn’t proposed, her mother’s memory is failing, and work at Garments of Praise is keeping her hands full. If she barely has time to fit exercise into her schedule, how could she hope to compete in a televised contest? The letter is destroyed, and life moves on. If the contest is what God has in mind for her, He’ll have to bring it back, and make it fit into her life.
Six months later the host of the show visits Lily in person to ask her to join the new season of The Next Design Diva. Lily’s life is just as full, perhaps more so, but filming would take place in each contestant’s hometown. There would be no need to leave her mother, job, or boyfriend, and the publicity would be great for Garments of Praise. As much as she would like to turn down the opportunity and hide in anonymity, too many people are counting on her.
Part of the competition involves each contestant to be mentored by a professional, and Lily is no exception. Doug LaCroix, one of the designers that Lily has considered to be the most inspirational to her, is chosen as her mentor, and he is gorgeous. On top of everything else, Lily now has to add a growing attraction to a handsome, famous, and Godly man to her list of life’s complications.
Marilynn Griffith brings more wonderful characters to life in Jade. Lily is very insecure, with many deep running desires, and a strong sense of loyalty. She wants to hide, and let life take it’s own course, but pursues a difficult avenue to better other peoples’ lives. Her friends at Garment of Praise would benefit from the publicity of her participating in the contest, and winning the prize money would allow her to better support her mother.
While she knows in her head that God will take care of her, she has a great deal of difficulty letting go of her own control. Even when she meets the man who fulfills every desire of her heart, she continually tells herself to not get attached, back off while you still can. Constantly, God is trying to give her good things, and she is running away, afraid to let go of the tenuous control that she has. God doesn’t let go though, He patiently waits, and her gifts are waiting when she is ready to accept them.
Doug LaCroix is a fantastic character, the kind of man many of us would dream about. Godly, handsome, and with great fashion sense. He is intensely understanding, and patient. And the first time he called Lily “Beautiful One”, I got chills.
Lily is a woman who loves deeply, but allows fear--of rejection and failure--to prevent her from accepting love in return. She allows her independence and integrity to become weaknesses, rather than strength by not allowing others too far into her life. It’s a vicious cycle. Without allowing anyone in, she doesn’t experience the love that is open to her, and without experiencing the love, she keeps herself closed off from the potential of hurt. In many ways, Lily’s character resonated more with me than any of the others have yet, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in this.
Jade is a great addition to the Shades of Style series, well written, with fascinating and realistic characters, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Tangerine. Marilynn Griffith has created a large group of characters that anyone can fall in love with.
Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.