Review: Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles

Reviewed by Olive

Any Old Diamonds is the newest release from KJ Charles and tells the story of Alec, the estranged – and angsty about it – son of the Duke of Ilvar, and Jerry, one of the jewel thieves he hires to further his revenge plot against his father. Alec dangles the lure of an entrée into the famously remote and challenging Castle Speight (aka Castle Spite), as well as the Duke’s newly commissioned diamond parure, in the hopes of enticing Jerry and his partner to accept the caper. The blurb promises “betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light” and it definitely delivers!

This book is gorgeous from cover to cover. I inhaled it in a single sitting and have already re-read it twice. I legit laughed -and- cried. It’s chock full of conversations around privilege/entitlement, sex positivity, and how trauma shapes character … and yet doesn’t come off as pedantic. Fans of KJC will cackle gleefully at the connections to her other works but this is definitely a stand alone story and would be an excellent choice for new-to-KJC readers.

Jerry is that beloved (and ever-doomed) romance archetype – the semi-sociopathic hero that brags about his ability to walk away and have no regrets… Thankfully for us, his self analysis turns out to be wrong and he gets just as embroiled in the happenings as we do.

I deeply appreciate the anxiety and imposter syndrome that plague Alec and how his arc develops including those aspects. His struggle to allow himself to be imperfect and flawed, and therefore human, is poignant precisely because it’s so genuinely relatable.

The confession of love is part and parcel of an apology and is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever read. So often in romance there’s a deep betrayal followed by a lacklustre apology and some sex that we’re meant to accept as a complete resolution, leaving the couple on solid HEA footing and, for me at least, that just doesn’t cut it. This one though? It just … it covers all bases, there’s enough time left in the story for it to be backed up with actions, and it isn’t meant to be a half-assed prelude to sex – it’s meant to exist in its own right and in its own space.

I’d love to gush about the plot and narrative devices but don’t want to end up being spoilery so I’m going to talk about the sex. The really, really hot sex. Like, blazingly so. As we get to know these two incredibly capable and competent men, we get to watch as Jerry oh-so-carefully (though none too gently) draws out Alec’s deepest desires. My inner 13 year old adored that nearly every conversation dripped with innuendo and entendre and adult me loved that consent is superbly handled, right along with Alec.

Rating: A+

*ARC provided by author*

Click to purchase: Amazon

 

Any Old Diamonds
By KJ Charles
Release Date: January 30, 2019

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