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The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener
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's review
Nov 29, 2012

really liked it

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul. - Democritus

Michelle Diener burst onto the historical fiction scene last year with her debut thriller set in Tudor England, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. For THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY, she delivers an equally engaging suspense set in Regency England. Diener steps out of the grand ballrooms to give us a glimpse of gritty London – both in the stews and in the aristocracy who grovel in their selfish pleasures. Charlotte Raven is a remarkable heroine who survived poverty and now thrives under the guardianship of a generous patron. Yet she reveals her past to protect the children of another noble family. Charlotte’s selfless act garners another friend in the ton. But it also brings her to the attention of Lord Edward Durnham. A solemn man, Edward realizes that Charlotte can aid his current investigation of the Emperor’s Conspiracy – Napoleon's effort to rob England of its gold.

Both heroine and hero are jaded by childhood traumas. They are practical in dancing around polite society. They are loyal to family. And they are stubborn as mules. Charlotte and Edward puncture the facades erected by the other to find the hope of happiness that has eluded them. The possibility of romance is a subplot that enhances the larger mystery of who is orchestrating the smuggling operation. THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY captured my attention from the prologue and kept it throughout the unexpected twists of human depravity. Despite the darker tone, I enjoyed THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY as a break from my lighthearted historical romances.

Recommended read for those who enjoy the Regency Era but would like something different from the hapless heiress on the marriage mart.
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