'Set in early nineteenth-century England, this vivid and romantic historical novel goes from the most elegant ballrooms of London to the city's most tawdry slums, as a spirited young woman helps unravel a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of all its gold.Through good fortune, Charlotte Raven escaped the poverty of the London slums and is now an educated, wealthy Society lady. But she lives between two worlds, unable to completely turn her back on her old life--specifically Luke, her childhood protector and now a ruthless London crime lord.
When Lord Edward Durnham is asked to investigate the alarming movement of gold out of England, his search leads him to London, and his recent acquaintance with Charlotte affords him access to a dark world he barely knew existed. As they delve deeper into the underbelly of London, danger lurks at every turn, and Charlotte must navigate between her two worlds to save England.
And soon she faces a defining choice: to continue in the familiar limbo she's lived in for years, or to take a painful and risky leap toward a happiness she never thought possible.'
When you pick up a Michelle Diener novel, there are some things the reader will be sure to get: a novel packed with action and suspense to die for, a kick-ass main female protagonist and a book you will simply not be able to put down. This is the third book I have read by Michelle Diener and as of yet she has never disappointed me. All her novels pack a punch and when you're done with them, you wish there was another one to read. Michelle Diener has easily wormed her way into becoming one of my favorite authors to go to for historical fiction and I can't wait for her next one to be released.
This novel features Charlotte Raven, who is a society miss in the prim and proper strictures of the London ton in the early 1800's. Charlotte wasn't born to her wealth and status, she was 'adopted' by someone who cared enough about her to remove her from the slums of London's east side. Charlotte has always felt in between two worlds, one where she can know the riches that society can bring and the other is to know what it is like to nearly starve to death in the cruel and dark world that is the London slums. Charlotte may have learned 'airs' to fit in with the elite society, but she still hangs on to her lower class ways she grew up with. She doesn't take crap from anyone and doesn't let anyone tell her who she is or what she will do. Charlotte is a strong female lead character who has her flaws, but her spitfire personality makes you fall in love with her.
Charlotte soon finds herself embroiled in a plot to collapse England's economy by smuggling all of the gold into France during the Napoleonic war era. She meets Lord Edward Durnham, another strong and independent character, and together they try to figure out who exactly among the upper class has turned traitor to their own country. With treason and blackmail going on, the stakes are high and some people will get hurt. It's up to Charlotte and Edward to find out what is going on before England's economy collapses.
I loved all the twists and turns that were in the plot of this novel. I didn't see any of them coming and it definitely kept me on my toes. These are the types of books I love to read the most. I like to be entertained and this one seriously did not disappoint. The ending strongly suggests the beginning of a new series and I am praying I am right. I really would love to see more of Charlotte and Edward. I strongly encourage lovers of historical fiction and intrigue to pick this one and read it as soon as possible and while you're at it check into Michelle Diener's other novels, In a Treacherous Court and Keeper of the King's Secrets. I really find it hard to believe that anyone who reads this book would be disappointed, of course, I could be wrong, but a fabulous read all around.
Overall Rating: 5
Title: The Emperor's Conspiracy
Author: Michelle Diener
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for my review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.