15 Aug 2015

New for 2015- The Curiosity Keeper- Sarah Ladd

The Curiosty Keeper- Treasures of Surrey Novel #1
Thomas Nelson, July 7th 2015, 337 Pages

“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.

I really enjoyed Sarah Ladd’s debut ‘Whispers on the Moors’ Trilogy, so this first book a new series was greatly anticipated. I heard good things, saw good reviews, liked the author anyway, and appreciate Regency Fiction perhaps a little more than I used to.

 The Curiosity Keeper was not by any means a bad novel. It has most of the elements known and loved in Regency Fiction- alongside a measure of mystery and intrigue- yet- and this is purely my personal opinion- I couldn’t really like it in the way I did The Heiress of Winterwood, The Headmistress of Rosemere by the same author.

It’s hard to pin down what this story seemed to be lacking for me- but dare I say, it just seemed rather dull and a little predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go in for stories that rely entirely on action at the expense a solid plot, or good characterisation- but despite some exiting scenes, it just seemed to trudge along- and I was able to guess (correctly) the location of the Ruby everyone was looking for quite early on.
 Also, I don’t think I ever really found myself connecting with the major characters.

Yes, Johnathon was your typical Regency hero- dashing and handsome, who wanted to make his own way in life but had a strong sense of duty and honour- yes Camille was strong and beautiful yet vulnerable, but again, there just seemed to be something lacking. Maybe its that her actions did not always seem consistent with her personality, or that the characters, whilst pleasant enough, seemed a bit like 'stock' characters, typical of the genre.

This is a worthwhile read, and I would certainly have no trouble recommending. The lack of the sort of silly, mushy romance that gets on my nerves could certainly be counted as a plus. It just isn’t a favourite, nor do I think the author’s best.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson via Booklook Bloggers for review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed here are my own.

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