The Bracelet Series
This series, aptly named for the first book, follows a set of 5 jewels that are stolen, abandoned, and carried to the new world by a Mormon immigrant. Jennie Hansen is a prolific writer and weaves beautiful stories around the bracelet and each of its precious gems. This is one series I would say truly can be read out of order. Each book relates the tale of new characters that live independent of the characters in the other novels.
While the series could easily contain two more books, both the author and publisher have announced The Ruby concluded the series, a pity. But if you like The Bracelet series, you may consider reading one or more of Hansen’s other 20+ books.
This book tells the story of a girl named Georgiana, a servant in 1840’s England. Running from the antagonist of the story, her mistress’s son, to protect her life and virtue, she justifies stealing from the rich family. She sets precious gems in a worthless brass bracelet, a gift from the aforementioned villain.
Settings and descriptions are beautiful throughout the series, but especially so in this first novel. It also includes heartwarming conversion stories of characters who invite God into their lives through sincere repentance.
There were some unresolved threads in the first book that never get touched on in detail in the latter books.
Picking up the story of the bracelet from when it was abandoned, a widowed Mormon immigrant and her two children protect the bracelet in hopes of returning it to the nameless woman who hid it in the baby’s possession. Running from the abusive home of her Scandinavian in-laws after her husband dies, Margarette uses everything in her power to keep her children from being reclaimed by detectives hired by her battering father-in-law to return his “property” to the old world.
Aided by a young English Mormon immigrant and a childless Scandinavian couple, Margarette’s family is finally able to make their way to Nauvoo where she finds employment as a housekeeper for a childless English widower.
When it comes time to flee the city, and she has been unable to locate the woman who abandoned the bracelet, Margarette separates the gems as she is inspired by God to part with them. The topaz is sent with a Mormon Quaker, to help a black family flee slavery. The diamond and ruby are traded to outfit her family for their journey to Zion. The sapphire is sent with the childless Scandinavian couple to help them settle in Salt Lake. And the emerald, the baby’s favorite stone, goes with the family as they march in the Mormon Battalion.
The Topaz tells the story of Serenity, Hannah’s daughter. Hannah was murdered and the topaz ring stolen while she was aiding fugitive slaves using the underground railroad. Serenity is desperate to learn what her father knew about the incident that brought about his own murder five years later.
Like approaching a rabid dog, Hansen is able to approach the unsavory topics of forced marriage, murder, attempted rape, abuse of spouse and offspring, and substance abuse without offending the sensibilities of her readers. This is true in all her tales, but the ability is best showcased in The Topaz.
This final novel details the story of Charlie Mae, who witnesses her father murder a non-mormon living in Nauvoo as a mob ransacks the city. Believing the man may not be dead, she goes to view her father’s handiwork and sees a coal that doesn’t burn out. She picks it up. Afraid her father or the other mobbers might return, she absconds with the ruby. Fleeing her abusive home with her brother, the novel describes her life as they make their way to California to find gold.
This last book is the most poorly edited. There are time sequence errors through the first 6 chapters. The sections are dated and in one part of the novel it says it has been 5 years when it has only been 2.