Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener

From nineteenth-century London’s elegant ballrooms to its darkest slums, a spirited young woman and a nobleman investigating for the Crown unmask a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of its gold.

Chance led to Charlotte Raven’s transformation from chimney sweep to wealthy, educated noblewoman, but she still walks a delicate tightrope between two worlds, unable to turn her back on the ruthless crime lord who was once her childhood protector.

When Lord Edward Durnham is tapped to solve the mystery of England’s rapidly disappearing gold, his search leads him to the stews of London, and Charlotte becomes his intriguing guide to the city’s dark, forbidding underworld. But as her involvement brings Charlotte to the attention of men who have no qualms about who they hurt, and as Edward forges a grudging alliance with the dangerous ghosts of Charlotte’s former life, she faces a choice: to continue living in limbo, or to close the door on the past and risk her heart and her happiness on an unpredictable future.


Because the majority of the time I do tend to judge a book by its cover, that is what first drew my attention to this book.

The Emperor’s Conspiracy focuses mainly on the Charlotte Raven, a young woman now living among the high society of London who was taken in by Lady Howe at the age of twelve. Charlotte did not grow up surrounded by affluence though, she had a rough childhood and during those years she made questionable connections with seedy individuals, like that of Luke Bracken.  Luke Bracken who now as an adult is a big-time London crime boss. He is in love with Charlotte though she does not return the sentiment. She thinks of him as a family member.  Because he cares about her, he watches over her and protects her.
She ends up meeting Edward Durnham, the brother of one of her acquaintances and her brazenness intrigues him. He believes there is more to her than meets the eye and so he begins to inquire about her around town which catches the attention of Luke.

Edward secretly works for the Crown and is soon given a mission to find out why gold is disappearing and who is behind it. With Charlotte’s connection to the criminal underworld she makes the perfect person to help Edward solve this mystery. But when dealing with criminals and seedy individuals, nothing is ever what is seems and trusting the wrong person can be dangerous.

I thought that The Emperor’s Conspiracy was an entertaining historical fiction story.  I wasn't sucked in, but I did want to find out what happened to whom.

I liked that Charlotte was caring and had a mind of her own. Even though she lives well now, she never forgot her old life and where she came from. She offered to help the people from her past that helped her and stuck by her. Luke was a bit of a tortured soul which can be endearing, but I was rooting for Edward. Edward and Charlotte’s attraction to each other seemed instant, but it worked in the story I think.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a good romance entanglement and a light mystery thrown in the mix then this story is for you.

                                                           The Emperor's Conspiracy
Rating: 3½ out of 5.

Amazon | B & N | IndieBound

** I received this book from Gallery Books/ Simon and Schuster in exchange for nothing, but my honest review. Thank you!** 

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