Publisher: Gallery Books
Released: November 27, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher
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.
THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY was an enjoyable read filled with mystery, a touch of romance, and rich historical details about London life at the dawn of the 19th century. From the memorable opening chapter to the unexpected ending, the story kept me engaged.
England’s gold is disappearing fast, and Lord Edward Durnham is assigned to find out who is behind it before the economy suffers. It takes the help of a very unique young woman to put the pieces of the mystery together.
I loved the heroine Charlotte Raven. She is not your typical lady of the ton. Not many members of high society spent their childhood as an impoverished chimney sweep like Charlotte. Though rescued by a generous and wealthy woman, she’s kept her connections with the seedy side of London. She can’t forget her roots, and does what she can to help others. Her ability to blend into both worlds becomes invaluable to Edward’s search for answers.
One person in particular is not happy about Charlotte’s involvement with Edward – crime lord Luke Bracken. Luke was Charlotte’s protector during her years in the stews, and he wants nothing more than to have her again. I have to say, I was rooting for Luke. He had such a rough life, and what happened to him was heartbreaking.
THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY was a well-written historical mystery, dark at times, but always entertaining. The ending was left somewhat open-ended, so I’m wondering if the author has plans for a sequel? I hope so!
Rating: 4 Stars
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.