Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Review: The Curiosity Keeper

The Curiosity Keeper (Treasures of Surrey, #1)
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Series: Treasures of Surrey # 1

“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 whomever 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 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.

Their patrons wanted the unusual, the wildly exotic – unique treasures from far beyond England’s shore, not calm renditions of their own British countryside.

Eerie darkness surrounded him, broken by the flickering light from several sputtering lights positioned around the room. And what the candles illuminated was a shock.

Miss Iverness’s shoulders seemed to relax at the words, and for the first time, he noticed her lips curve into the slightest hint of a smile.

I am here to argue that this is Sarah Ladd’s best book yet! I was such a huge fan of her Whispers on the Moors series, and this new series started off just as strong. Ladd is an author that writes an exceptional piece of literature every time; I have never read one of her books that was not able to keep me entertained and enthused about the characters and their lives the entire time. This story follows Camille Iverness who has had a bit of bad luck in her young life, but that is all about to change when the handsome Jonathan Gilchrist walks into her Curiosity Shop. Of course, there is an adventure that awaits them in the form of a missing ruby that is said to bless the possessor. Ladd’s attention to historical detail is always one of my favorite things about her books. She really has a way of drawing readers in; she could be describing a wooden door and I promise you would be entranced.

The mystery was what really pushed the story forward for me. I was immediately interested in the idea of a “magical” jewel that could bring good luck. This is just such a twist in what I am used to reading. I have not read anything this fast-paced in such a long while. It doesn’t take long for Camille and Jonathan to become wrapped up in suspense, mystery, and a little bit of romance. Sarah Ladd does such a wonderful job of balancing all of these elements, and the religious elements as well, in each of her novels. The story contains a villain or two and quite a few interesting and very surprising plot twists. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, but sadly we have to wait all the way until next May for it to release!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review***

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