Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.
The Duke’s remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he’ll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec’s new best friend.
But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.
Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what’s between them…all without getting caught.
Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing a review copy of her novel.
Crozier’s fingers released Alec’s chin, skimmed down his throat. “You understand that I’m not a good man, don’t you?”
“And yet you’d put yourself in my hands anyway.” It wasn’t exactly a question; it wasn’t quite a statement either.
“Yes,” Alec said anyway. It was what he wanted and Crozier had stripped it bare for them both.
“Entirely in my hands. Which is quite appropriate, since these hands steal jewels.”
It’s officially true: I have a new favourite KJ Charles novel. I honestly didn’t think it was possible to top the perfection that is A Seditious Affair, but KJ has done it.
Any Old Diamonds has everything I could ever want in a novel: a sweet and loving hero that has hidden strengths, a villainous love interest that hides a soft heart, a cast of fantastic secondary characters, some of whom we’ve met before, and a complicated and intriguing plot that keeps you hooked to the very last page.
Any Old Diamonds follows the son of the Duke of Ilvar, a young man named Alec, who, along with his siblings, was cast out of his family home for not showing proper respect to their father’s second wife. Eight years later, Alec, despite being a lord, works as an illustrator and is mourning the death of one of his sisters, after their father refused to aid the curing of her illness or even pay for her funeral. Pushed to the brink, Alec hires the Lilywhite Boys, a team of thieves, to steal the diamond parure his father bought his wife instead of paying for his daughter’s funeral. But of course the more Alex spends time with one of the thieves, the more he falls for the criminal, despite knowing they couldn’t possibly be together.
I can’t find the words to explain how much I adore Alec. He’s sensitive and loves with all his heart. While he is anxious a lot of the time — he plans to rob his father after all, no matter how horrible the man is — he’s still incredibly courageous and enticing, so much so that a cynical jewel thief who has sworn to not be beholden to anyone falls for him.
Speaking of criminals … Jerry has to be one of my favourite love interests KJ has ever written. He’s dastardly and gives zero fucks, so much so that he’ll gladly have sex in public places, despite the fact that sex between men is illegal during this time. But Jerry doesn’t care: he lives life the way he wants to, and while sometimes he sounds like a social reformer, he puts himself first and be damned to everyone else. Until he meets Alec, that is.
I adored Alec and Jerry together. Like every other KJ Charles couple, the men have such intense chemistry between them, from their very first interaction. The way they flirt with one another made me squeal in delight. But what I love most is how KJ’s love interests are always so different from one another — from a socio-economic standpoint to values and beliefs — but they always manage to make it work, even when they don’t think its possible. That can definitely be said for Alec and Jerry, one of the son of a duke (duke being the second-highest social position in England, directly under the monarch), the other an unrepentant thief and criminal. These opposites-attract characters are still such realistic and complex people, and I love reading their journey to love.
All of KJ Charles’ novels are highly researched, and Any Old Diamonds is no exception. Alec’s parents are based on real-life people, who must have been extremely horrible people indeed, while Jerry’s profession was inspired by a real life jewel thief in the late Victorian era. I love KJ’s dedication to making her novels as realistic as possible.
While it’s not necessary to read KJ Charles’ other series (which some background characters first make their appearance in, such as Susan Lazarus and Lady Moreton), I still highly recommend you do so! Sins of the Cities and Society of Gentleman are amazing series — each book in the individual series can be read as a standalone but there’s an overarching plot throughout both series.
Any Old Diamonds features incredible plot twists, amazing characters, shameless flirting, sex at some pretty inopportune moments, and some fucking horrible peers of the realm. So what I’m saying is, why haven’t you ordered the book yet?