Hugh Montford works for Maybury, a major rival of Massot. When he finds out that Sophie is set to take the reins of Massot, he believes she is a rich widow interested in money and the easy life. Knowing that the company is ripe for the picking, he decides to put the moves on Sophie. Yet what happens when their attraction steers him away from his goal of a takeover?
SPARKLES is about one woman's journey out of her husband's shadow. It is a touching and unexpected love story between two people who may have never crossed paths if it wasn't for death. Sophie was a young, naive woman who married the rich, debonair and much older Pierre Massot. When he goes missing, she decides to take over and protect her son's inheritance. Even though she doesn't have any experience, I had to admire her courage to take a sagging business and try and turn it around. Her business instincts are spot on because she seems to know what sells but she isn't perfect. She is too trusting and that could lead to her downfall. Yet she picked herself right up and moved forward. With Hugh, she is cautious. After Pierre, she wants to be sure that things are right before going forward. I admire how she stood by her beliefs even if it could cost her a chance at happiness.
Hugh is a businessman. He has devoted his entire life to making the jewelry firm, Maybury, successful. His drive is unquestioned but deep down, he hides from the pain and loneliness left behind when his wife died many years ago. When he decides to meet and convince Sophie Massot to sell her company, he didn't expect a woman who did not succumb to his charm. Not only that, but her soft-spoken words disarmed him so completely. She wasn't a polished, hardened woman after money but she genuinely wanted to save her son's inheritance. I really respected him because he didn't treat her like she was second-class or like she didn't belong. He made her feel important and loved.
The secondary characters had their own agendas. Some were misguided while others were plain evil. Ms. Bagshawe does a great job using flashbacks to show the rise of Massot as well as show how far Sophie has come. SPARKLES has everything from the backstabbing, calculating characters to the surprising twists that I never saw coming. It was like Ms. Bagshawe wanted the story to end with a bang but most of all, SPARKLES had a gentle love story that seemed to transcend the money and power in the world of the high-class jewelry business.