“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 will thrust you deep into history and keep you there until the very last page has been turned. I love the way that Ladd depicts not only the elegance of the highest social classes in this book, but she also shows how they interact and the imperfections that lie within this system. It’s easy to romanticize it, and I’m sure that it worked beautifully for those at the very top of the social ladder, but Ladd shows the good that can be found in other classes, too.
Camille makes for a great lead character. She’s kind and determined but surprisingly naive. The frustrating thing about her is that you want so much for good things to happen for her, and yet she gets knocked down over and over again. One of the good things that comes from this, however, is that it gives Jonathan a true chance to shine – and for his kindness to break through.
The mystery of the Bevoy has high stakes for all involved. While some aspects of it were not unexpected, it served as a great vehicle for moving along the romance and the spiritual lessons that many characters needed to learn.
My only issue with the book was a statement made on the very last page: that two people may be able to complete each other. While I think that we can certainly make each other very happy, we were never intended to be everything to another – God is. In that regard, I think that the lesson fell a little flat, but as it’s a romance, it is understandable.
Ladd’s writing is smooth and descriptive. She builds the suspense and tension slowly just as she keeps you reading as fast as possible. I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended – and you won’t be able to, either.