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.
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.
Diener (Keeper of the King's Secrets) delivers a rousing read in this stand-alone novel with a hasty final act. Charlotte Raven went from childhood chimney sweep to London high society when good fortune smiled on her at a young age. She now straddles two worlds, enjoying a life of affluence, yet forever tied to her humble roots and Luke Bracken, the man who lifted her from destitution. When Charlotte is inadvertently caught up in a national conspiracy involving Napoleon, she must make use of this dual status on the streets of London. During a growing recession, gold guineas begin mysteriously disappearing by the ton. When Lord Durnham comes to London to investigate, Charlotte's personal connections and class-bridging status place her in the center of the unfolding drama. Diener entwines mystery and romance within this 19th-century historical thriller. The story moves at a pace that will keep readers intrigued and rooting for Charlotte, but too many subplots including the love triangle at the novel's core are left untidy by the end. The story begs for a sequel.