Pearl - Book Review

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Book Review of :  Pearl


The cover design and the first paragraph of Pearl by Karleen Staible compels the reader to become immersed in this incredible story. In contrast to typical writing format, Chapter one, titled “Prelude”, is actually a teaser of later plot development.  Chapter two jumps right into the electricity of the illicit love story of Emily and Derrick with timely, appropriate, and necessary backstories.

            Pearl is a contemporary romance with complex life drama that is believable as the reader gets into the heads and hearts of the characters. Set in the New York City’s glamorous high-end, just off and on Broadway Theater scenes. It recounts the hard times and disappointments of actors, the supporting cast and crews, and the management and staging of plays. The plot exemplifies the author’s knowledge of this subculture. Real life drama is set against the background of sweat and hard work as well as the paparazzi.

            Character driven, the story of Emily’s and Derrick’s relationship is told in intense scenes covering many years of deep feelings and raw emotions, dark and secretive snapshots of passing time. All characters are clearly defined and believable.

            Emily is introduced as a young, naïve, innocent country girl with natural talent as a dancer and actress. Derrick, an older career-oriented professional stage producer offers her a fairytale-teen dream chance of dancing and acting on Broadway. Pygmalion-like the intense co-dependent relationship swap roles as antagonist/protagonist in a downward personal spiral while achieving professional success. Emily’s and Derrick’s obsessions and addictions are intertwined, as are their lives.

            Early in the story, the author’s understanding of Emily’s spiral into the drug scene is evident during her initial trip with LSD. “she felt she had gone cross-eyed”…”happening in slow motion, her body heavy”…”couldn’t move”… “Colors were brighter, pulsing as if she had a fever, and the music sounded strange.” “’Look at all the beeu tee ful fish’.” ‘”How can they live in the air? Sooo pree…tee.’”

            Emily’s trip from rags to riches is a series of literal highs and lows of success and drug/alcohol dependency.  As she achieves career success she loses personal integrity. Derrick’s addiction to her rescue leads to his own struggle with integrity.

            The reader may search for and expect a happily ever after conclusion to Pearl. Increased realism and deep characterization, and the evocative narration depicts the decadent decline and the duplicity of the lovers. The twists of heartbreak and suspense throughout their tumultuous lives lead to tragic reality.

            A powerful epic journey, with intense twists of fate, Pearl is a moving modern drama as well as a romance. An original in women’s fiction.

Reviewed by: Carole

About Karleen Staible


As a seasoned world traveler, I hope to bring a touch of real life, yet exotic, into novels that cross genres. My stories reflect situations and people I have met over the years, the characters are personalities of those people I encountered along the way, and the places are cities or towns I found interesting. My childhood upbringing and my heroes are also written into my books. Each story has a social message: how women, or people in general, can empower themselves to deal with difficult situations. I love writing and hope you all will love reading my novels.

Visit for more information on Karleen Staible


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