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ARC Review: The Emperor’s Conspiracy by Michelle Diener

Submitted by on October 31, 2012 – 4:00 am2 Comments

Author: Michelle Diener
Title: The Emperor’s Conspiracy
Release: November 27, 2012
Reviewer: Noa
Source: Edelweiss, publisher
Purchase: | Book Depository
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.

Those of you who have read my previous reviews know that I am quite a fan of historical fiction and the 19th century is one of my favorite periods in history, which is why I was so excited about getting a chance to read The Emperor’s Conspiracy. And really, this book should have been wonderful; it had all the makings of a great historical read. Yet for some reason, this Emperor’s Conspiracy did not deliver.

The book begins when Charlotte (Charlie) Raven is saved from a life in the streets by a wealthy aristocratic woman who takes her in and raises her as her own. Charlotte may look at home in both ballrooms and the back streets, which is one of her biggest but she is caught between two worlds and she doesn’t know where she belongs.

When she discovers that a lecherous man from her past is about to add two new victims to his list she sets out to save them – thus coming to the attention of their uncle Lord Durnham. It also means she embroils herself in some shady dealings that bring the two lives she has kept separate together with a bang.

Sounds promising right? So where did it all go wrong? I’m just not sure. It just seems like the book is unfinished – the plot left me turning back pages to see if I missed something, the characters had incredible potential but they just weren’t fleshed out. At one point I actually re-downloaded the book because I thought my copy was missing a chapter or two…

There were compelling moments in the story – Charlotte’s relationship with Luke was one of the only points where I felt the author really delved in and went all the way in the plot. I just wish Ms. Diener would have given the same attention to the historical, mystery and romantic aspects of the story. I was also left wondering why the book was named The Emperor’s Conspiracy… to me it just felt very random.

The Emperor’s Conspiracy just needed…more. More plotting, more work on the characters and a little bit more of a background story. If it had more I would say it could be a solid story.

Noa first fell in love with books when she discovered 100 acre wood and its inhabitants. To this day, the last pages of “The House at Pooh Corner” make her cry. In a good way. From“Calvin and Hobbes” to “The Iliad and the Odyssey” and lets not forget “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes”. Biographies, mysteries, history books and romances all have a place on her bookshelves. Who needs furniture? This 29 year old singleton’s dream is to invent the zero-calorie chocolate. But until that day arrives, she tries to create sweet confections with whatever chocolate she can find. An MA in conflict studies (need a mediator?) means Noa loves a good debate, especially when she wins. If she were in charge, books would be free for everyone.
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