Phoebe and her father have come to America to find sapphires for her father's employer. His employer wants Ceylon sapphires, but he's gathering Montana sapphires. He's been doing this for years, cheating her out of money, instead of getting her the gems she wants.
Phoebe has lived the last ten years of her life believing that her mother is dead, but ran into her mother outside the hotel where they were staying in Helena. There she learns the truth about her father.
While he is gone for a couple of weeks gathering the stones from the mines, Phoebe receives a telegram from an old Duke her father wants her to marry. He had promised that she would have a final say in whom she marries, but has all but sold her to this man. Phoebe has met the local lapidary who intrigues her. That he is often seen in the company of a young boy leads Phoebe to believe that he is the boy's father. After spending time with Ian, the lapidary, and her mother, she figures out that the young boy is actually her brother.
The story her mother told her is that her father is abusive and she had to leave without Phoebe even though it broke her heart. Phoebe had a hard time believing the story until her father unleashes his anger on her. She dared to stand up to her father for selling her to the old Duke and told him that she was going to choose her own husband. Her father slaps her around and then posts a guard outside her door so that she couldn't go out.
This is one of Tracie Peterson's Sapphire Brides series. A Beauty Refined moves rather slowly until the very end, which I won't discuss here in order not to spoil the ending for anyone yet to read the book. I didn't find the plot to be all that compelling FOR ME. It is still a good book, describing the ills of familial abuse and the effects it has on the abused one. Four Stars.
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.