In her second book, The Solitaire Diaries, author Chiara Kelly (The Lady Leathernecks) explores the effects that an impromptu need to marry when faced with an unexpected pregnancy can have long-term on relationship and family. Focusing on the life journey and motives of Cay Vitale, forced to rush into marriage so quickly she was wed without a diamond ring, the author repeatedly returns to the correlation between the absence of a proper ring and the loss of innocence and opportunity, which drives Cay to gift each of her three sons with a solitaire diamond, to be prepared when the time comes.
Kelly writes in a serious, reserved tone; the narrative jumps perspectives from the individual members of Cay’s family—her husband, Clint, and their three sons Clive, Chris and Coby. This provides an interesting plot device, allowing the reader to get a sense of each character’s “hand on the elephant,” as each relates his or her point of view on the vagaries of love and the stress within the home of a tested marriage. A light is shone on Cay’s obsession over diamonds and its root in her unfulfilled youth: “If only children could be more like diamonds. At least they could then be faceted by the numbers and shine according to the maker’s cut and polish grade. Plus, diamonds did not get hurt. I almost slapped myself for constantly thinking about diamonds, even in terms of my own children, who, unlike diamonds, could actually love me back.”
This study of love for a cold heartless stone, and its contrast with the real love that the heroine wishes to place on her offspring, drives the book. There is a constant comparison of an object with great earthly value, and the value beyond price that it symbolizes. The Solitaire Diaries is a multi-layered examination of personality and principle within the confines of love, marriage and family. A quiet but enjoyable read.