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Guest blogger: Amber Jakeman

29 May 2022

Books as friends and food for the soul

I recently heard of a national charity called Story Dogs, with the mission to “make reading fun for children, so they become confident lifelong readers”.

“When children read to a dog, the outcomes are amazing!” their website says. “It is a non-judgemental setting, the children’s focus improves, their literacy skills increase and their confidence soars…”

Established in Lismore in 2012 and offered in more than 300 schools, it’s helped thousands of children learn to read.

What a fantastic gift, to open a child to all the worlds of words! I applaud their assertion that “No child should be left behind in literacy”.

I’m so grateful that reading came easily to me and that books have never left my side.

Words leapt off the cereal packet, off street signs and more, and I gobbled up Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton and CS Lewis, awed by Aslan.

Of all the genres, I love romance best. The anguish and euphoria of relationships are endlessly fascinating.

I’ve loved Jane Austen, Maeve Binchy, Monica McInerney, Di Morrissey AM and Jojo Moyes and am dazzled by newcomers like Beth O’Leary, Lizzie Dent and many others, local and international.

For me, the written word carries a kind of magic. In lockdown, reading and writing books kept me company and kept me sane.

Books make me laugh and cry. They stretch my mind and take me to new places in time and space.

My commitment to writing feel-good fiction, with its uplifting endings, is because I see books as friends.

And while “news” continues to provide us with a never-ending gush of tragic facts, it is books that help me make sense of the world, and books that offer the hope and motivation I crave.

Humans have told and absorbed stories from the beginning of time, and I warmly acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People, our first storytellers.

True friends comfort each other, however bleak the world may seem. Books nourish the soul.

Words gave me a career as a journalist and communications professional. It was only in 2015 that I began writing fiction, relishing the sheer freedom of it and realising that paradox—that fiction freed me to write other truths.

House of Diamonds—“a sparkling modern love tale about duelling jewellers”—was published in 2021, along with three other books in my House of Jewels series, as the fictitious Huntley family kept whispering in my ear.

In Diamonds, sparkles fly when newbie jeweller Stella Rhees sets up her home-made jewellery stall outside the iconic House of Diamonds jewellery store in Bondi Junction, run by handsome James Huntley the Third. I hope you find out whether these enemies work out what to do with an engagement ring!

In House of Hearts, James Huntley’s bad-boy brother, Will, acquires a bad gambling problem on the French Riviera. Vegas therapist Dr Lisa Bakker cures him of one bad habit, only to wonder if he’s become addicted to her.

House of Spades, set in the beautiful Byron Bay hinterland, explores whether love can blaze later in life. Serial single Flame accidentally rekindles a widower’s passion for life, for his land and for love. But how can Ross convince her to stay with him, when every other lover has let her down? And will a dark secret spoil it all? (NB: ARRA members recovering from floods are still welcome to seek free copies of House of Spades by emailing me at with “free House of Spades” in the subject line.)

House of Clubs is another “seasoned romance”, this time set in France and featuring James and Will’s mother, Cynthia, a stylish widow who meets a mysterious handyman and locksmith who might or might not hold the key to her heart …

Full House, to be published shortly, will feature two love stories for the price of one. It begins with the big question: What can you do when you’ve “friend zoned” the one you truly love?

When that’s solved, the stakes rise: “Hearts may break, a family shatter, and a retail empire crumble to dust as fate deals the international Huntley family of jewellers a fresh hand.”

I hope you enjoy this series as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

You can find my ebooks online, and my paperbacks at Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney’s CBD.

Deepest thanks to ARRA for all you do for romance readers and writers.

Happy reading! Amber Jakeman

You can find Amber here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

House of Clubs

Who holds the key to her heart?

When stylish Australian widow Cynthia Huntley moves to France and begins to renovate a centuries-old property, she and handsome handyman Émile tussle over a “perfect” chandelier.

Cynthia lets the mysterious yet gallant Émile into her house, but will she let him into her heart?

What is Émile fleeing? And what is worth seeking in life?

As winter closes in, will Cynthia abandon her French adventure? Or can she and Émile claim love again later in life—together?

One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink
    27 June 2022 8:08 am

    Dear Amber
    I really enjoyed reading your blog and gaining some insight into your world of words and writing. Your “house of Jewels” series is such an enjoyable read! We get to travel to different places around the world and learn about a variety of topics including jewelry-making, skyrunning, addiction and rainforest restoration, all seen through the eyes of believable, well-rounded characters. And I really like the idea that “falling in love” is not confined to only the young- it can ‘strike” at any age, with just as much intensity! Thank you for thinking of those of us in the Northern Rivers region affected by the floods. “House of Spades”-set here in our lush, rainforested (sometimes treacherous) environment- is my favorite and I recommend it for anyone needing a break from the evidence of flood-damage all around us. This book will make you smile and reconnect with our beautiful landscape. Thanks Amber- I look forward to reading more of your books!

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