Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1), by KJ Charles

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I was on holiday last week and the best part of a holiday, even the short ones, is getting the opportunity to read. Now, I’m not always great about focusing on reading when there’s architecture to look at and small children to wrangle but I had plenty of opportunity in my hotel room in Florence to break out the old Kindle and Any Old Diamonds, by KJ Charles was a perfect choice.

The story is about Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes who hires a pair of criminals to steal diamonds from his own father, the Duke of Ivar. Nothing like a bit of family drama to underpin a historical heist, and this family is dramatic af, in all the best ways. There’s disownments, a wicked stepmother and the suspicion of murder, and that’s before we get to the thieving.

The relationship between Alec and Jerry Crozier is honestly delicious. There are secrets revealed and secrets concealed, and a mismatch in status, but they clearly challenge each other, intellectually and emotionally. Jerry is a superbly commanding character but make no mistake, Alec is not without agenda either.

What I thoroughly enjoyed about this book is how much substance there is to it. It is not just a heist novel. It is not just a gay romance. The family dynamics, between Alec, his siblings and his estranged father, are fascinating, and the plot is not without a couple of wicked twists. Even though the reader must know, intellectually, that the romance between Alec and Jerry is inevitable, it feels anything but as the novel progresses.

Any Old Diamonds is a very satisfying novel as a standalone but the groundwork is there for sequels (and I am absolutely looking forward to reading them). So, if you like historical fiction, heists and delicious power dynamics, both social and sexual, in your romance, this book is absolutely for you

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