Fiction Review: The Diamond Thief

BY SHARON GOSLING
Publisher: Curious Fox
Reviewed by Belle Cooper

108dbb_b302bce4124fcc0a5b0f5c6a78185bb5We’re introduced to our protagonist, Rémy Brunel, at the top of a trapeze performance for Le Cirque de la Lune, and within a few pages we seem to know all we need to know about her: she’s a sixteen-year-old orphan, slight of build, and a tremendous trapeze artist and master jewel thief. She is, in other words, YA romance gold. Her co-star, Thaddeus Rec, is similarly constructed: upright and moral despite being raised by thieves, he’s used his strict code of ethics and fascination with steam-era advanced science to become the youngest detective at Scotland Yard. Oh, and did I mention his eyes are two different colors?

I must admit, I took my first steps into Sharon Gosling’s Victorian London with trepidation. The prose, light and simple, at first appears childish, but I reminded myself that were I still fourteen instead of in my thirties, I would be all over Rémy and Thaddeus (well, most certainly R&eactue;my, I was never much one for the upright and moral dashing gentleman). Thus reassured and in the proper frame of mind, I straightened my reviewer’s skirts and strode forward into the world of The Diamond Thief with due enthusiasm.

I was not disappointed.

It’s not a perfect book. A few details don’t quite pan out; the text towards the end states, for instance, that Rémy and Thaddeus have known each other perhaps a week, while at my count it can be no more than two days. It also takes quite awhile to get to the real juice of the story, the first half moving rather slowly as the pieces are carefully placed. We meet Thaddeus’ scientist mentor, known simply as “the Professor”; his street-urchin sidekick J; and a properly sinister (and properly landed, this is Victorian London we’re talking about) villain. There’s a seemingly successful jewel heist and mistaken accusations thrown about, and even a dog chase, all simply to force dear Rémy and Thaddeus together into the sewers beneath London, where the fun can really begin. What plods in the set-up becomes a proper thrill ride in the execution, full of truly mad science, a handy dose of mysticism, an inherited curse, declarations of love, and a climax straight out of Indiana Jones, complete with a slightly ditzy love interest (sorry Thaddeus) picking precisely the wrong moment to try to assert his dominance over our hero.

The absolute best part, for me, is the fact that Rémy never quite lets him.

R&eacutemy starts the book under the thumb of her noxious circus director and crime boss, Gustave, and spends much of the rest of it being ordered around by — and underestimated by — any number of other men, but by the epilogue, she has shaken them all. We see her performing her act in secret, her own agent, on a West End stage, having chosen London as her home on her own terms. And that is something that both my inner fourteen-year-old and outer thirty-something self can get behind.

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One Response to “Fiction Review: The Diamond Thief”

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