Author: Michelle Diener
Publication: November 27th 2012 by Gallery Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback, 317 pages
Cover Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Purchase: The Book Depository ~ Fishpond ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
From nineteenth-century London’s elegant ballrooms to its darkest slums, a spirited young woman and a nobleman investigating for the Crown unmask a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of 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.
The Emperor's Conspiracy is a brilliantly written Historical Fiction with a dash of romance. Not only did I love the entire novel, I was completely entranced by the amazing plot, rich details and striking characters that sucked me right into nineteenth-century London until the very last words.
This story is about Charlotte Raven, who once was a poor chimney sweep until Lady Catherine Howe took her in after Charlotte became trapped in her chimney. Charlotte never lost her ties to the streets thought She continued seeing her childhood friend and ex-lover Luke Bracken who grew to be a bitter and ruthless crime lord, even so Charlotte could never really get it over her heart to shake herself lose from him, nor he from her. They shared a tight bond.
When Charlotte meets Lord Edward Durham, a secret agent for the Crown, she immediately feels attracted to him, which surprises her more than anything, since she has never allowed any man close to her after Luke.
Through events she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that threatens England. Charlotte has to walk between both world to find out what really is going on. That's where things really start to get dangerous. Murder, intrigue, danger and passion follows.
I was hooked instantly by Michelle Diener's writing.So wonderful to read. Not to mention fast paced and detailed. I was truly blown away. The story, setting, characters and mystery kept my attention non-stop. I felt compelled to keep on reading and reading. Even into the midle of the night when I knew I should've been sleeping. I kept turning page after page and saying to myself; "Just one more chapter..."
I love complex characters and there were quite a few in The Emperor's Conspiracy. Charlotte was my favorite character. She was an amazing heroine to read about. Beautiful, strong, independent, straight forward, smart and very loyal to her friends. Everything a good heroine needs. I loved her bond with Luke, although one might see their relationship as unhealthy or messy, and yet I loved to see them together in scenes, interacting. Even so, I liked Charlotte and Edward together even more. I loved Edward! He was pretty amazing. Protective, handsome and intellifent. I just fell completely for him. Luke on the other hand was very intense, bitter, fierce, wanting Charlotte for his own, obsessive even. He wanted to much for Charlotte to love him, when she'd never love him in any other way than a friend or family. So, yes, that was pretty sad for him even though I was immensely rooting for Charlotte and Edward. My sympathy for Luke will never go away.
This book is based on real facts and events, which I just love because I'm such a history geek. I totally devoured it all.
The ending of this novel was a little inconclusive as to where her relationship with Edward would go. So I sincerely hope there will be a second instalment. But even with the inconclusive ending, I liked it. Charlotte finally had sort of freed herself from the ghosts of her past. So this was a very good ending in my opnion.
I loved the romance between Charlotte and Edward. It wasn't overdone or anything, even if sometimes it verged more on lust. They made such a good and beautiful couple. They really had the electric attraction. But like I've mentioned before, it was inclusive if they would make it or not. But I do hope so.
I have to say, there are some tough topics in this book that are definitly Rated R. Just a little warning there for the sensitive readers.
So, it's obvious how in love I am with this book. It's a new personal favorite of mine and I'm definitely not hesitating to read the other books by Michelle Diener for she has gaint a new fan with me.
I'd recommend The Emperor's Conspiracy to anyone who loves historical fiction or romance books with a suspense twist to it. Even if you're not a fan of this genre, I would ask you to read it, because this novel is absolutely brilliant.
He was suddenly furious. She could see it in the way his jaw clenched and his eyes flashed. She couldn't understand how one question could have such an effect on him.
"I." He drew in a seething breath. "Pay. You. Court. I offer you gifts, engage you in conversation, take you on outings with a chaperone. And..."
"And then ask you to marry me." He almost spat it out.
"Because of the bet?" she asked, trying frantically to work it out. "Because someone has wagered on my reputation, you must marry me to save me?" She looked up, startled. "Why? I'm either dead or ruined by the end of this anyway."
"You are not. I won't let that happen. They will not win." He was all but shouting, stalking toward her. he grabbed her arms and gave her a little shake. "This time, the bastards don't win. I win."
"What do you win?" she whispered.
He bent his head and crushed his lips to hers.
She hadn't seen him since yesterday, and Charlotte did not understand the sensation that gripped her at the sight of him.
As if she were a lightning rod, waiting for the storm above to strike. As if she had lost all control over her life and was thrown into chaos.
“I think he's quite aware , as is everyone here, that you don't need to worm your way into my bed, Miss Raven." He stepped away from her. "You need only crook your finger and I would be ripping your clothes off your body.”
~About the author~
Michelle Diener was born in London and raised in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She now lives on the west coast of Australia with her husband and two young children.
Find her also on: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads
Also available by Michelle Diener:
In a Treacherous Court
Dangerous Sanctuary (only available as ebook)
Keeper of the King's Secrets