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The Emperor's Conspiracy Paperback – November 27, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Regency London Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michelle Diener has always had a passion for reading and writing. She began writing stories when her parents gave her a typewriter for her twelfth birthday, and she hasn’t stopped since. Born in London and raised in South Africa, she now lives on the west coast of Australia with her husband and two small children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451684436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451684438
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,268,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul. - Democritus

Michelle Diener burst onto the historical fiction scene last year with her debut thriller set in Tudor England, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. For THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY, she delivers an equally engaging suspense set in Regency England. Diener steps out of the grand ballrooms to give us a glimpse of gritty London - both in the stews and in the aristocracy who grovel in their selfish pleasures. Charlotte Raven is a remarkable heroine who survived poverty and now thrives under the guardianship of a generous patron. Yet she reveals her past to protect the children of another noble family. Charlotte's selfless act garners another friend in the ton. But it also brings her to the attention of Lord Edward Durnham. A solemn man, Edward realizes that Charlotte can aid his current investigation what turns out to be the Emperor's conspiracy - Napoleon's effort to rob England of its gold.

Both heroine and hero are jaded by childhood traumas. They are practical in dancing around polite society. They are loyal to family. And they are stubborn as mules. Charlotte and Edward puncture the facades erected by the other to find the hope of happiness that has eluded them. The possibility of romance is a subplot that enhances the larger mystery of who is orchestrating the smuggling operation. THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY captured my attention from the prologue and kept it throughout the unexpected twists of human depravity. Despite the darker tone, I enjoyed THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY as a break from my lighthearted historical romances.

Recommended read for those who enjoy the Regency Era but would like something different from the hapless heiress on the marriage mart.
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Format: Paperback
A spy thriller intertwined with a romantic triangle, set in Regency England, with a peek into high society, a whiff of the gutters, and a dollop of blackmail. Such a recipe couldn't fail but produce an engaging tale of history and mayhem.

The heroine, Charlotte, was the daughter of a prostitute. The girl worked as a chimney sweep since she was four, but at twelve, luck smiled on her: she was adopted by Lady Catherine. Since then, Charlotte has lived in two worlds. While le bon ton knows her as a reserved society miss with an impeccable reputation, her friends from the stews call her Charlie. She visits her former rookery often and helps as many of her former mates as she can, with work or money.

Circumstances bring her in contact with Edward, a wealthy nobleman working for the Crown. Sparks of interest and desire ignite between them, but before they can explore their mutual attraction, they must untangle a treacherous conspiracy that threatens not only Charlotte's life but also the security of England.

While Edward is searching for the traitors, Charlotte battles the ghosts of her childhood. Her heart is torn between her sisterly affection for Luke, her former sweetheart and the current crime boss of London, and her emerging love for Edward. Edward's work for the Crown pitches him against Luke, so both men pull her in the opposite directions.

In turns charming and sensible, kind and surprisingly ruthless, Charlotte struggles to reconcile her unfolding feminine passion with the unbreakable ties of her past. She can't betray her friends, she can't forfeit Luke, her soul brother, but she wouldn't abandon her hopes for happiness with Edward either.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the first things that struck me with this book was how it never really lets up with the story-telling and action. From one discovery to the next, the story moves at a brisk pace, leading the reader from one scene to the next with hardly a stop in between. I did like this for the most part as I was always eager to find out the next big surprise. Yet, there were times where I felt a bit overwhelmed. At times, so many people were introduced and just chucked into the story that I had to pause and try to remember where they came from. There were some really nice historical details, though, that bumped this story up in my opinion. Using real events for the impetuous to the story gave it some lovely added depth.

I did really like the dynamic between Edward and Charlotte. It was intense and very charged, yet sweet at the same time. I felt that Edward appreciated Charlotte for what she really was, a woman of two worlds who felt tied to both. I liked there weren't any of the cliched misunderstandings that a novel like this could have fallen prey to. Charlotte was very up front with her past from the very beginning, warning Edward's sister to the danger her sons were in. She wasn't afraid to expose her secret to accomplish a good deed, neither was she afraid to expose herself to Edward when it needed to be done. I felt that this added a very honest depth to their relationship and set a tone for mutual cooperation and trust.

While at times a bit overwhelmed from the sheer forward moment of the story, I felt this was a novel I could get lost in and love. The characters were wonderfully vivid, the historical details set the scene beautifully, and Edward's and Charlotte's relationship made me smile. Overall, a very well written novel set in Regency England. Very recommended.
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