Dorie's Reviews > The Emperor's Conspiracy

The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener
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's review
Dec 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-mysteries
Read from December 06 to 09, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Warning - the ending of this book is very abrupt and doesn't completely resolve the romantic subplot of the story. For the sake of a review I will assume the author intends to bring back the characters in another book. Otherwise I would be annoyed at the ending of this one.

The mystery part of the novel was done well enough, but the best part of the book are the main characters and their stories (and backstories). Charlotte is a complex heroine who is (thank the lord) mature and worldly although fairly young in years. This is due to her childhood raised in the slums, orphaned and protected by a boy named Luke. Having taken a beating in prison, Luke has grown into a bitter, violent crime lord who is both physically and emotionally damaged. The one soft spot he has is his love for Charlotte, who he protects with a ferocity that sometimes frightens her. Rescued and taken in by a rich lady as an adolescent, Charlotte strives to keep a foot in both worlds, trying to remain loyal to Luke while attempting to please her guardian and friend, Lady Howe.

Unlike so many heroines of historical novels these days, Charlotte is not impulsive or silly, and if she believes something needs to be done she doesn't wait around for a man to take care of it, but takes action herself; not impulsively but with careful thought and planning. And I also loved the character of Luke, but then I have a soft spot for damaged anti-heroes.
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