I received a free copy of this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review.
The Curiosity Keeper is a young woman, Camille Iverness, who grew up on her grandfather’s estate in England. She was extremely happy there, and her grandfather delighted in her, spent time with her, taught her wonderful things, and her life was carefree. However, on his death, her father sold the estate and moved the family to one of the seamier areas of London where he purchased a curiosity shop and began to fill it with a great variety of items of questionable provenance and value. Camille’s mother, originally from Portugal, returned there to care for Camille’s aging grandmother. But, when the grandmother rallied, Mama didn’t return. So Camille learned the shop business, did the accounting, dealt with customers, and developed an eye for evaluating curiosities.
Jonathan Gilchrist lives in Fellsworth, Surrey, where he is the apothecary with a wide practice which takes him out into the community at all hours. He loves his life. It is simple but satisfying. He wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world — not even for Kettering Hall. Due to the unfortunate death of his older brother, Thomas — father’s favourite — Jonathan is now the heir, a burden he finds hard to bear. When his father’s most valuable possession, the Bevoy ruby, is stolen, Jonathan is enlisted to join forces with a detective/adventurer to track it down. The trail leads them directly to the Iverness shop on Blinkett Street in time to witness an attack on Camille. A true gentleman, Gilchrist rescues Camille, bandages her wound, and refuses to leave her alone in the shop with its broken window.
When Camille discovers she has been manipulated and betrayed on all sides ever since the death of her grandfather, she runs with no place to go. She needs a new start away from the danger of London, back in the country where she can breathe again. Enter Jonathan Gilchrist, who, quite taken with the petite and pretty Camille, suggests she might find work at their local boarding school. But can he trust her? Is it her father who has stolen the Bevoy ruby? Does she know more than she’s telling?
There is deception at every turn through this Regency period novel, with excellent detail, description, character development, and a touch of romance. Jonathan’s father’s collection was quite interesting, and the rise of scarlet fever in the village school added realism to the story. I found the plot a bit too straightforward at times, although it didn’t detract too much from the enjoyment of the story. There were several twists as the story unfolded, and the characters held my attention. Aside from Jonathan attending church, and Camille carrying a keepsake from grandfather engraved with, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord”, I wouldn’t particularly have thought this novel to be classed in the Christian genre. But it certainly was a quick and entertaining read. I would probably read another in this series. * * *