The Curiosity Keeper

 
The Curiosity Keeper-Sarah E. Ladd
The Curiosity Keeper-Sarah E. Ladd
The Curiosity Keeper-Sarah E. Ladd

 
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From the Back Cover: 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 on Blinkett Street. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille has no choice but to accept help from the mysterious stranger who came to her aid. Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content working as a 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 or may not be the answer to his questions. Curious circumstance throws them together, and an intricate dance of need and suspicion leads the couple from the seedy backwaters of London to the elite neighborhoods of the wealthy to the lush, green Surrey countryside—all in the pursuit of a blood-red gem that collectors will sacrifice anything to possess. Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, each will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.
 
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
 
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Ladd is a first-rate storyteller who weaves together many elements seamlessly for a thoroughly enjoyable novel

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Posted July 7, 2015 by

 
Our Review
 
 
R

egency-set novels are my favorite, though good authors still writing them seem to be getting harder to find, so I was happy when I caught the last book in Ladd’s first series. I have to say, however, that this particular novel exceeded all of my expectations: it was outstanding!

The Regency period has obviously been impeccably researched and I found myself immersed in the conflict between appearances and doing what is actually right. They should be synonymous, but often the rules of conduct could merely give the appearance of propriety and duty without engaging the heart or logical thought. This tension is often difficult to maintain without delving into the ridiculous, but Ladd seems to navigate it with ease; she brings it to life in a nuanced manner, giving the writing depth and detail without overpowering the reader or giving us a dry history lesson.

The mysterious plot gives enough information so that I never felt lost, but I also wasn’t sure what to expect and found myself surprised at various twists. Characters are well-rounded, both primary and secondary, with even the villain real enough that I couldn’t help but truly dislike the character. The resolution was perfect in both content and length, satisfying my desire to see loose ends tied up but still leaving the door open for the following books in the series.

One of my favorite elements in this story is the family theme, which is never shown as perfect,
but it isn’t terminal, either—both the hero and the heroine must overcome obstacles engendered by their families, demonstrating how we are often shaped by choices we have no control over. There’s no easy fix but redemption is indeed possible, and the reader gets to see it begin to play out in at least one case. Considering the issues of abandonment and intense sibling rivalry that this novel addresses, the insight into complex family dynamics enhances the realistic feel of the tale and even offers hope for a brighter future.

This novel is the whole package and I absolutely loved it. Sarah E. Ladd is a first-rate storyteller who weaves together many elements seamlessly for a thoroughly enjoyable novel—she is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors!


Lynda Edwards

 


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