Diamonds and Dust by Carol Hedges

When a horrific murder takes place on a dark night in 1860's London, it changes two women for ever. New light is cast upon past lives they thought they knew so well, and suddenly their futures become intertwined.

The death of her uncle will leave eighteen-year-old Josephine King an orphan, an heiress and the owner of a priceless diamond, The Eye of the Khan. For Lilith Marks, a chance finally arises to end her life as a highly paid prostitute and to prove herself as a serious businesswoman.

Set against the backdrop of the great gas-lit city, the two women are drawn together in their quest to discover just who killed the man they both loved.

This book  made my heart race as I found myself screaming at the heroine Josephine not to leave her room to investigate a noise, but like all heroines, she did.
Josephine has just found herself some luck in life after a bad few years and now it looks like everything could be taken away again.
 When you read that someone has a precious and unusual diamond you know that someone else is going to want to take it from them although I did think that Josephine was particularly careless with hers. I suspected everyone in the book and trusted no one but I was wrong until near the end when it all came together.
 The author has obviously put in a lot of research into this book, with Victorian street names and descriptions of homes and traditions. I was transported by the sights and smells back to Victorian London, a place I'm so glad I was not born into as it seems whether rich or poor, women seemed to have a raw deal. There were lots of facts I didn't know until reading this, like the need to pay for a boy to brush the street in front of you as you crossed the road.

 Poor Isabella as her mother calls her is being forced into marriage with a horrible man but her parents don't seem to care what he's like or what he gets up to as long as their daughter is married. Isabella is having control of her life by not eating and seeing an artist in secret. I can see no good coming from that liaison. Although Isabella and the Thorpes were part of a back story I would like to have known more about what happens to poor Isabella in the future, perhaps we will have a sequel.

Author, Carol Hedges.
I loved the language of this book, the words ran across the page like honey. I saw the narrator as some kind of divine being looking out on London like an all seeing eye, allowing me to be privy to something no one else knew about. The characters are all believable and I found myself wanting the best outcome for our heroine, Josephine. The story kept me on the edge of my seat and for a few nights when my husband was away from home I had to put it aside because I'm such a scaredy cat.
There are a few nods in the story to classic writers and books which I thought was a lovely touch by the author. I hope you have fun finding them out. I would describe this book as a historical crime novel with a touch of the supernatural,something for everyone.
I also have to say I loved the front cover it's very elegant and I'm sure wouldn't have been out of place in Josephine's library. 
Well done Ms Hedges!

For Kindle Amazon uk      As I've said before,for less than a posh cup of coffee (what's not to like?)

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  1. A lovely review for a great book. I have also read and enjoyed Diamonds and Dust tremendously! I like the way you talk about giving a 'nod' to great writers of the time. This book finished much too quickly for me, so I'm very glad Ms Hedges is writing a sequel!! It's awful that books take so long to write and then so little time to read. I keep ones like this to read again….have to do them justice somehow!

    1. Thanks Val. glad to hear there will be a sequel.

  2. Gosh. Am overcome.The book has been so well received and I feel very humbled that readers enjoy it. As you both know it had a difficult birth, having been rejected out of hand by my agent and nearly deleted by me. Thank you Anne. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read it and review it! (Please can you do same for sequel?)

  3. Likewise, I loved this novel and am amazed that it had been turned down by an agent. It's got so much to offer: keeps the reader guessing; has clever twists; a sprinkling of humour as well as lots of interesting historical details. That's a lot to fit into a book. I didn't guess the ending and, as I often do, that was a plus too. The characters stood out clearly. Josephine wasn't at all predictable. I was quite taken aback by her final decision. A wonderful read. Thanks Carol! If there's to be a sequel I'll be looking out for it.

    1. Hi Catherine. I doubt we'll ever know why books are turned down seems just like personal preferences to me.

  4. What a wonderful review Anne. I must make time to read this book, I read Jigsaw Pieces, one of Carol's other books, and loved that, but this one sounds really exciting - and spooky! : )

    1. Thanks Amanda ,yes you must read it,a bit supernatural and spooky but if I can cope with being scared anyone can.

  5. Great review. I love that phrase "words ran across the page like honey". I've also read the book and I too can't understand what's wrong with publishers these days. Do they really only want to sign up the famous and fluffy?!

  6. Thanks Ros. Oh if only you could get inside the publisher's mind. I think more celebs are publishing books too,one even has her name in much bigger print than the book title,I think that says it all.


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