Any Old Diamonds

Any Old Diamonds
K.J. Charles, 2019

Premise: Alec and his siblings barely make ends meet after being cut off by their noble father. When he reaches a breaking point, Alec decides to try to get some of their own back by helping a pair of accomplished thieves steal his stepmother’s diamonds. Falling for one of them wasn’t part of the plan.

I read a lot of K.J. Charles’ historical romances. Like, most of them. Most of them I don’t bother to review here. This one, however, was especially delightful.

Alec is full of contradictions: he’s the son of a noble house, but happy to seek work as a freelance illustrator, while he’s also understanding of his siblings who can’t take on “normal” jobs and have any hope of regaining their social standing in Victoria’s England. He makes a choice and is tormented by it. He doesn’t know who to trust or how to solve his problems.

Jerry is a great thief, and one of his skills is the ability to read people. At first he gets close to Alec to ensure that the job will go well, but soon he’s asking probing questions, willing to give up a chance at the treasure to make sure that Alec isn’t making a decision he’ll regret.

The process of getting to the point of the burglary is detailed and lengthy, but the book always pulses with a sense of foreboding that leads inescapably toward the big caper. And then... spoilers.

I know, it’s a romance, how can there be spoilers? But that’s the genius of this book. You think it’s going one way, and then everything turns to show another facet.

It’s a ton of fun, sweet and sexy (the role-playing Jerry encourages to help Alec get back into his father’s good graces long enough to swindle him does not hurt in this regard). The plot is stellar, and it exists in the same world as several of the author's other books, with some light background connections. Highly recommended for fans of the genre.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book


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