“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 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 the first novel in Sarah E. Ladd’s new series, Treasures of Surrey, and is another book I couldn’t help but pre-order before it came out one week ago. I first stumbled upon Sarah when I found one of her novels as a bargain book, and I have loved her ever since. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took a chance on The Headmistress of Rosemere, but I found an author that will forever be one of my favorites, and a book that I will read again and again. And the same goes for The Curiosity Keeper. I loved it so much I have already lent it to a friend, knowing she will enjoy it just as much as I did. I finished it in only one day anyway, so I had plenty of time between then and now to give it to her.
Let me start off by saying that Sarah’s historical facts were, as always, impeccable. I felt as if I had been transported to Surrey as it was in 1812, and that made the story all that much better. On top of that, the mystery of the Bevoy was captivating, and I never saw it ending the way that it did. While it was cleverly written so as to keep you guessing, it also worked out in such a way that I couldn’t have imagined, in a way that was very unique and interesting. To top it all off, Sarah pulled the whole story together with some of the most perfect characters, whether heroes or villains.
Camille Iverness is by far one of my favorite heroines. Always strong and courageous, she faces everything that is thrown at her with remarkable calm and levelheadedness, focusing on how to fix the problem—where to go next—rather than the pain and trouble the situation causes. Full of compassion and forgiveness, she embodies many of the things I long to be, and her fire and determination is also something to be admired. While no one is perfect, not even Camille, she is easy to love despite her flaws, and I am happy to tell you she overcomes them in the end. How could it be a good book otherwise?
Jonathan Gilchrist is another character to love. Always eager to serve, his compassion and servant’s heart make him incredibly endearing, and his determination to serve his family despite his reluctance prove he is a man of worth. Although he already gives you many reasons to love him, the way he treats Camille trumps them all. I cannot imagine a sweeter, kinder gentleman than he, and I know that if I had been Camille I would have snatched him up immediately. Of course, there were other situations to be considered, and women in 1812 didn’t do that sort of thing (and even now I still believe the man should do the chasing), but he is the kind of man you don’t find every day.
Clearly this novel deserves all five bookmarks, so that is what I am giving it, as well as a permanent spot on my all-time favorites list—although, now that I think about it, all of the spots are permanent. Anyway, this book was well worth purchasing, and comes highly recommended. Really, I would recommend any of Sarah’s books, but especially this one, and the second in the series—Dawn at Emberwilde—which releases next May. Sarah writes wonderful historical novels that will keep you captivated until the last page that I can almost promise you will enjoy.
You can purchase your own copy of any of the three books I mentioned here.
All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Sarah E. Ladd and her publishers.