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The Emperor’s Conspiracy

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Emperor’s Conspiracy (2012) Michelle Diener

Set in England in 1811.

Charlotte Raven was rescued by Lady Howe from life as a chimney sweep–a life for which she had finally grown too large. Her past, and her gratitude towards Lady Howe create a young woman who will do what she can to help those in need–especially children.

A woman who needed a chaperone. Despite herself, she smiled.

“Stop that.” Catherine drew her farther away from the dance floor.

“Stop what?”

“That pitying way you have of looking at me, when you think I’m being foolish in protecting you. You deserve the same respect and protection as every other woman here. Never forget that.”

“Then I take it back. You’re a hope-killer. ’Cause at least if you’d done it on your back, that’s something we c’n understand. Something we c’n do ourselves. But kindness? Luck like that— it’s a million-to-one chance, and you already took the one chance going.”

She did not dispute it. She agreed.

Although I do initially have a very hard time believing the action of Lady Howe in taking in Charlotte and make her her ward and heir, that disappears both with Lady Howe’s personality and with the story. Did things like that happen? How would we know, since they would have been kept secret? So it’s possible, and that’s good enough for me.

Lord Edward Durnham works for the Crown, and has enjoyed being able to avoid society and its demands. When his sister comes to him for assistance, he is drawn into the world of Charlotte Raven.

“Risky, wasn’t it? Emma might have been a gossip.” His voice was not quite steady.

She raised her eyebrows. “Gossip is one thing; seeing three boys sent off to Frethers without trying to do anything about it is another. I took a chance, because I couldn’t do anything else.”

Edward initially comes of as unlikable, but that is dismissed once he realizes truly what has happened to his sister. He’s still a difficult man, but his embarrassment and shame at his actions immediately redeem him to me. After all, everyone makes mistakes.

This is a mystery first, and a romance second, which is just the way I like it.

“He’d just suggested I prostitute myself to you to get the information he wants. But none of the men he joined afterward so much as looked back at me, let alone leered. And it is my experience, when men think you can be had for a price, they look you over to establish if they could pay it themselves, and if they’d want to if they could.”

I also really liked the secondary characters in this book–the smuggler who quit a job because his son was fighting the French, the crime lord who was deeply deeply flawed, the former street kids who were torn between their allegiance between Charlotte and Luke. It was complicated and messy.

And compelling.

I highly recommend this book.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Gallery Books

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    



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