Book Review: The Curiosity Keeper

31 Jul

51cs6r4WiYL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_“It is not just a ruby, as you say. It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished. And it is rumored to either bless or curse whoever possesses it.”

Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille must allow a mysterious stranger to come to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content to work as the village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may be the answer to his many questions.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, these two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, they will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.

Chapter 1

SLadd-318Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

 

My Impressions:

For fans of well-written Regency novels, you cannot go wrong with a book written by Sarah Ladd. The Curiosity Keeper is her 4th novel and the first in her new Treasures of Surrey series. Combining rich historical detail, a mysterious stolen gem and characters to cheer for, this romance is one that I can recommend.

Camille Iverness is confined to the curiosity shop her father keeps. Surrounded by strange, yet valuable wares and hemmed in by the dirty streets of London, Camille yearns for the open countryside of her youth. After being attacked in the shop, she finds herself in the company of a young gentleman nothing like the men she is accustomed to. But his search for a stolen ruby and her father’s shady business dealings may keep her from the fulfillment of long held dreams.

While Ladd does a good job of creating a decidedly seedy London and a bucolic Surrey village in The Curiosity Keeper, the characters are what really make this novel. Both Camille and Jonathan Gilchrist are children at odds with their families. Both desire independence and cultivate an aura of confidence and calm, but they really long for the intimacy denied them. Both are unconventional for their time, yet both seem very natural in their reactions and feelings. Without divulging too much, I also found the ending is a bit unconventional, and definitely refreshing  — extremely fitting for Camille and Jonathan’s story. The mystery of the stolen ruby provides a great framework to explore the characters’ true values and is perfect for the developing romance. The faith message is natural, without being preachy, and I loved how Ladd ties in the legend of curses and blessing surrounding the ruby with God’s word.

The Curiosity Keeper may be a Regency romance, but it owes a lot to the gothic elements found in the novels of the Brontes and Wilkie Collins. So if you are a fan of those classics, you will probably love this one as well. The best part is that this is book 1 in a series — more stories to come. Yay!

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Litfuse and Thomas Nelson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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