Book Reviews

Romancing the Rough Diamond by Clare London at Jocular Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 11-November-2020

Book Blurb

When Mayfair jewellers Starsmith Stones wins the commission for a British 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 jewellery 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 realisation 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?

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2019.

Book Review

‘Romancing the Rough Diamond’ is set in the competitive world of jewelry design in London, with the excitement of a gay Royal wedding (unfortunately fictional) and the secrecy around it at its center. At the same time it is the tumultuous story about two dedicated, passionate, stubborn men who start off not believing they can work together, never mind fall in love. This tale is filled with cutthroat competition and its consequences, company and personal secrets, the desire of a creative man to be free from corporate entanglements, and a suspected betrayal that may destroy everything the two main characters have built together while working on a top-secret Royal commission. But there is also humor, some very nice British touches, and some heartwarming scenes that made me smile, laugh out loud, and almost cry a few times.


Joel is the successful CEO of (fictional) Starsmith Stones, a leading jewelry designer and manufacturer in London. He is a determined businessman with an eye for beautiful jewelry, but his primary strength lies in running a well-oiled business machine. Planning, organization, and control are his trifecta of success, and that includes his personal life. Opening up is not really on his to-do list, so when he runs into Matt and finds himself suddenly more than interested, Joel is thrown for a loop.


Matt has not had a smooth career. The details only emerge slowly, adding a considerable amount of tension and suspense to the plot, but it is clear from the start that he is a bit of a rebel, someone who does not follow corporate guidelines easily (if at all), and that he has a problem with Starsmith’s takeover of his father’s business. Matt has not had much of a personal life, and he is shocked by his attraction to Joel – even before he knows what Joel does for a living.


These two men are not an easy match, both have more than a few rough edges and need to really work at not letting that interfere with what could clearly be a very successful business and personal partnership. What enables them to work together is an interest in creating a unique set of jewelry for the Royal wedding, but there is more underlying tension in that cooperation than is healthy. However, there is also a growing interest of a personal nature, and with how passionate both men are about everything in their lives, the fireworks keep coming – on every level. And that makes for an exciting read!


If you like eccentric characters who do not have an easy time of figuring out how to work together, if an explosive courtship is your thing, and if you’re looking for an entertaining, sometimes funny, and always thrilling read, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It’s a great addition to the ‘Romancing the…’ series and I hope the stories will keep coming!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first edition of this book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 258 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-December-2019
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link