The Curiosity Keeper
By Sarah E. Ladd
Treasures of Surrey, #1
Thomas Nelson, 2015
“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 whoever 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. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille must allow a mysterious stranger to come to her aid.
Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content to work as the 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 be the answer to his many questions.
Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, these two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, they will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.
The Curiosity Keeper is a good beginning to Sarah Ladd's new series, Treasures of Surrey. Set in 1812 England, it opens in the Iverness Curiosity Shop in London, then moves to the beautiful rural community of Fellsworth. Regencies are a favorite genre of mine and Sarah did an excellent job at conveying a sense of place. There's action, drama, mystery, romance, and a sweet ending.
Jonathan and Camille seemed like a good fit for each other and I really liked them both, but although there was a good bit of character depth, I was never able to connect as deeply with them as I had hoped and I'm not sure why. Maybe because I longed for more scenes with interaction between them, for I didn't feel a part of their developing romance. However, this is still an excellent story and it was fun to watch Camille use her strength and self-reliance skills to take care of herself at a time when women didn't have many opportunities.
The mystery element was done well, because even though I suspected who one of the bad guys might be and was proven right, there was a twist that I never saw coming. And one of my favorite parts was the growing friendship and respect between Camille and Jonathan's father, Ian.
I love the way The Curiosity Keeper shows a contrast between the upper and working classes, and between the wealthy estates and unsavory areas of London - and while a lot of Regencies focus on high society, Jonathan and Camille use their medical and teaching skills respectively to help others. Spiritual themes are subtle, but always shining through is the idea that God is faithful to bring about good from the not-so-good circumstances in our lives - and that's something to which readers can relate.
The Curiosity Keeper was an enjoyable read overall and I look forward to more stories in this series. Recommended to fans of historical romance.
Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for “The Heiress of Winterwood.” She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
Find Sarah online at sarahladd.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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To enter the drawing for The Curiosity Keeper . . .
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Do you have a favorite Sarah Ladd book or another
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BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Monday, August 3. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail.
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Congratulations to Jessica Jorn! I hope you enjoy The Curiosity Keeper very much. More great reviews and giveaways are in the works, so everyone please come back and tell your friends. Thank you to all who entered.
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