Author: Rosalie Oaks
Diamonds, Death, and Devonshire tea…
Miss Elinor Avely’s proper upbringing cannot prepare her for the tiny, spinster vampire who crashes into her sitting room and demands to be fed with a sheep.
Elinor already has enough troubles without having to catch ruminants. First, her secret gift for divining jewels has landed her in scandal, exiling her from London society. Second, a nobleman of dubious repute wants her to find a cache of smuggled jewels, hidden somewhere along the Devon coastline. Last – and worst – she is invited to cream tea at the local manor. And while the autocratic and magnificent Earl of Beresford might be there (and perhaps the jewels themselves too), Beresford is the last person Elinor wants to meet over cream tea.
When a dead body is discovered along the cliffs, of course, such delicate considerations become secondary. Fortunately, Elinor now has a small vampiric chaperone – even if said spinster has a habit of appearing stark naked – and together they are ready to risk the hard questions.
Where are the jewels hidden? Who killed the smuggler? And just when is the cream tea being served?
A selkie, a Vampiri, a jewel diviner, and other humans all become entangled in an adventure to uncover a mystery involving stolen jewels during Regency era England (during Napoleon’s take-over of Europe). It’s mainly a mystery novel with magical abilities and a romance wrapped into a captivating story. The Lady Jewel Diviner is the first novel in the Lady Diviner series with a prequel that gives background to an event mentioned multiple times called A Pendant for Trouble. Although you absolutely do not need to read the prequel to understand the story (I did not read it and I had zero difficulty), it does give you great foundation before moving on to novel number one.
Miss Elinor Avely is a jewel diviner, a person with the ability to sense jewels nearby. She is living with her brother, Perry, and her mother in Devon in a semi-social exile due to a misunderstanding in London involving an accusation of jewel theft (this is the prequel’s story). Now she and her family are trying to lay low in the quiet countryside and try to put themselves back together to eventually re-enter society. Elinor, however, keeps finding herself entangled in adventure when she meets a tiny female vampire named Aldreda Zooth that keeps finding herself without clothes when she transforms between human and bat. She also meets a selkie named Jaq along the way where a seal can transform between an animal and a handsome man.
While using her divining gift, Elinor comes across some French refugees who had their jewels stolen in transit. Elinor decides she will partake in the quest to recover the jewels and to find the smugglers as these two refugees were not the only victims of jewel theft. The quest to find the jewels and the smugglers lead her to reconnect with Lord James Beresford who she has not seen since his involvement in the jewel misunderstanding in London. Without knowing who to trust and who is behind the thefts, Elinor is unsure how to proceed without getting herself into too much trouble. Unfortunately, she keeps finding herself in situations and the reader journeys along with Elinor to try to uncover who is behind the jewel thefts and recover the missing items.
The characters in this story are all witty and fit their individual personalities. Each of them plays a part in the story and are consistent throughout as there are not moments when one of them says or does something completely out of character. The reader does not get a super in-depth look into the characters as the story focuses on the mystery and slowly revealing more details about each character. As this is a series, most likely the reader will have to continue reading to gain greater insights into the characters. It is one of the best and worst parts about series. It can get frustrating in some series, but I did not find that it was an issue in this novel as you become enthralled in the tale that you do not notice that some characters details are not present and you are anxious to read more. Overall, I admit that I did not go into this novel with high expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I became absorbed in the pages. It is light-hearted as the story does not take itself too seriously and it is an enjoyable read. The writing itself is easy to understand and the story flows well to keep the reader interested even as the author is building the story and setting the stage for the scenery, time period, characters, etc. Each character is likeable and witty in their own way. A very enjoyable read and I cannot wait until 2021 to get my hands on the next novel in the series, The Moria Pearls. An excellent start to a promising series!
**Thank you to BookSirens for the ARC for me to read. Opinions expressed are completely my own.**