Feature book: The Emperor’s Conspiracy
I have both of Michelle Diener’s other books on my TBR pile. When the chance came to review this book, I was keen because, apart from the beautiful cover, I knew it would force me to move this author up in the queue—something I had been meaning to do. Review books get priority! 🙂 The conspiracy of the title is actually true—Napoleon did try to bankrupt Britain by stealing all of their guineas. Who’d have thunk?
I went into the book thinking it was a romance but it isn’t really. It’s an historical novel with romantic elements. Perhaps if I had understood that going in, I would have enjoyed the book more but as it was, there wasn’t quite enough relationship to satisfy this romance reader’s soul.
Charlotte Raven was the daughter of a rookery whore, sold to a chimney sweep at age four and rescued from that life at age 12 by a wealthy Ton widow. Charlotte helps people from the slums by giving them jobs in her household and she still has close ties to Luke Bracken, now a crime lord. Luke and Charlotte had a very close and unhealthy relationship, parts of which were quite problematic for me. Luke isn’t presented as a particularly ‘good’ man. Even the close eye he keeps on Charlotte isn’t merely for her protection and he’s not shy about murder.
Lord Edward Durnham provides discreet assistance to the Crown and is tasked to investigate the smuggling of vast amounts of guineas from England. His path crosses with Charlotte (which he is glad about) and Luke (by which he’s less than pleased). Charlotte and Edward begin to fall in love (but remember, this is not a romance so don’t expect the usual romance story arc) as they work to solve the puzzle of who is behind the smuggling.
I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first but I felt that the end was somewhat abrupt. There are a lot of things I would have liked to know more about—particularly about the fallout regarding the smuggling conspiracy. Recommended for readers who like historical novels with a touch of gentle romance.
reviewed by Kaetrin
A review copy of this book was provided by the author. All ARRA members who leave a comment will go in the draw to win the book. The giveaway closes on 9 January 2013.