Author: Michelle Diener.
Expected publication: November 27th 2012.
Publisher: Gallery Books.
Review: In a treacherous court.
Review: Keeper of the King’s secrets.
Source: I received an ARC from the author.
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.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Charlotte grew up with Lady Howe after her employer left her in the chimney. She always disguised herself as a boy, but Lady Howe gave her a life as a woman. Otherwise, she would still live a hard life on the streets with her friend Luke. He is now a London Crime Lord and he always protects her. Not that Charlotte needs it. This girl is feisty, brave and intelligent enough to safe herself.
When Charlotte attends a ball, she overhears Emma conversation with another woman. She warns Emma about a dark plan and the woman flees with her three boys. Emma tries to get help from her brother Edward. He is a powerful man of the crown, but his behaviour pushes Emma away. Charlotte and Lady Howe are kind enough to let Emma and her boys stay with them as long as she likes.
Edward finds Charlotte and her story interesting. He is trying to gain more information about her and that’s when Luke enters the story. He sees Edward as the enemy and he wants to eliminate him, but Charlotte can interfere with this plan. It seems that Luke is part of a conspiracy. Huge amounts of money are leaving the country, but who is behind this? Edward is trying to find out what is going on and he needs Charlotte. Together, they are trying to save England before it is too late.
Charlotte is a wonderful girl. She grew up as the (bastard) daughter of a prostitute, but she managed to escape the same fate. Lady Howe saved her life by taking her in, but Luke protected her on the streets. Two separate lives combined in one and Luke is giving her a hard time. He loves in a way she can’t return and that is keeping her away from finding a husband.
Luckily, Edward isn’t planning to stay away from her. He is intrigued by Charlotte and they start to fall in love. Their conversations are fun and I loved to see how they grew to each other.
The only problem I had with this story is that it’s sometimes a bit slow. The conspiracy felt more like a background story. I had the idea that this book is more about Charlotte and her struggle with Luke and Edward. It’s very entertaining, don’t get me wrong, but I wished that the mystery played a bigger role. The plot was great though and the writing-style is pleasant. I can’t wait to read another book from Diener.