The Cloverton Charade

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Pub Date Sep 03 2024 | Archive Date Oct 04 2024

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A long-held family feud reignites when two rival antiquities brokers arrive at the same house party in Regency England.

Olivia Brannon knows her goals are unconventional. As a young woman in Regency England, her best bet--according to society--is to marry well and secure a steady future for herself. But Olivia has never been interested in convention. She'd prefer to follow in her deceased father's footsteps and journey to foreign lands in search of rare and valuable antiquities.

Eager to make a name for herself in the antiquities world, Olivia jumps at an invitation to join a wealthy widow at the famed Cloverton Hall to evaluate her private antiquities collection. Secrecy of the task is vital, and in order to conceal her efforts Olivia must pretend to be a house party guest to avoid suspicion and to explain her presence.

Lucas Avery, whose father was a rival of Olivia's father, has also arrived at the Cloverton Hall house party, hired by the new master of Cloverton Hall--the widow's nephew--to appraise the renowned Cloverton Hall collection. When Lucas discovers Olivia masquerading as a party guest while covertly conducting her own assessment, he's keen to renew the family rivalry. But as their paths frequently cross, he's unprepared for the effect the refreshingly honest--and beautiful--Olivia has on him.

Yet all is not as it seems. Both Olivia and Lucas are shocked by the astonishing discovery of counterfeit pieces, and when the unexpected occurs, everyone is a suspect . . . and Olivia and Lucas both must choose whom they will trust.

A long-held family feud reignites when two rival antiquities brokers arrive at the same house party in Regency England.

Olivia Brannon knows her goals are unconventional. As a young woman in Regency...

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Featured Reviews

THE CLOVERTON CHARADE by SARAH E LADD is an exciting Regecy romance novel that takes place in England, between Derbyshire and London.
Olivia Brannon, who has taken after her father and become an expert in antiquities, is delighted to be invited by Mrs Agnes Milton to a house party at Cloverton Hall in order to evaluate her private collection. This will be done in secret, as the elderly lady’s nephew, George Wainbridge has inherited her husband’s fortune, which is now practically non existant due to the money her husband spent on antiquiqities. George has invited the well known antique dealer, Lucas Avery, to assess his uncle’s vast treasure, many of the pieces acquired through Olivia’s father, in order to sell them and fill the Cloverton coffers.
It is interesting to see how the author describes the underlying goals of the characters, for example,Olivia wants to prove to her uncle Thomas, and the wold in general, that she is every bit as qualified as any man in the business, Lucas wants to improve his standing in the antiquites world after a scandal involving his father, and Mrs Milton wants to honour her husband’s memory. All of this takes place in the midst of a house party in which most of the guests are looking for advatageous liaisons……
Then the unthinkable happens…..
The idea of what is really important in life and what is counterfeit comes through clearly.
I cannot recomend this lovely read strongly enough.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review ae completely my own.

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This was a very enjoyable read. The story was very interesting and I finished it in a day. The romance was perfectly done. I would highly recommend this book!

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"Today was the day Olivia's entire life was going to change. It was the anticipation of something new-the anticipation of an adventure"
Olivia Brannon and Lucas Avery, whose father's were once partners in an antiquities business, reunite in this intriguing story of mystery and suspense. Olivia and Lucas, who are now antiquarians, are hired to make assessments of rare collections individually owned by the widow of Charlton Hall and the new heir to the estate. What evolves is a suspenseful game of charades and intrigue that will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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This is a great read!
This story shows how difficult it was for women to use their talents outside of the home along with intriguing details of how a person’s priceless collections would be verified, recorded, and sold.
There is intrigue as the question becomes who is supplementing fake pottery for the real items.
The main characters are well formed and the storyline is great!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

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This had everything that I was looking for from this type of book. It had everything that I was hoping for. I enjoyed the historical fiction element to it and had a great overall feel to it. The characters themselves worked in this world and I was engaged with the romance elements. I enjoyed the way Sarah E. Ladd wrote this.

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In this third installment of the Houses of Yorkshire series, the lovely Olivia Brannon's unconventional interest in antiquities, developed through her father's business, convinces her to accept an invitation that could change her future forever - the chance to evaluate a private collection housed at Cloverton Hall. She arrives to find that Lucas Avery, who was once an old friend but is now her adversary, has his own antiquities work at Cloverton that put her efforts at risk. When the two of them stumble upon a dangerous plot, they must decide whether to risk their future by working together to uncover the truth.

This book combines swoony romance, fascinating history, and fabulous character-building, all in one cozy mystery package. I highly recommend it!

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Wanting to become THE antiques dealer she knows she is she accepts an appraisal that set forth a future that may not have the consequences she desires. He is trying to set free a reputation not of his making. Can they together solve the mystery?
I really liked this novel. it has a strong woman trying to make it in a mans world even up against her own uncle. Add. Little romance and you have a sure fire way to win over a crowd, or a reader.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with guidelines.

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Sarah Ladd has done it again. This was stunning. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this beautiful telling of the power of love. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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I always love the author's book and this one was no surprise in that department.

House parties are a common setting in Regency novels, but this one's different: the party provides the perfect excuse for Alicia and Lucas to perform their work. They have both been hired separately to evaluate collections of antiques that could prove pivotal for each own's businesses. Of course, they recognize each other and know what they're really there for, even if the other guests are ignorant of the true reasons.

I liked how this premise set up the perfect setting for Alicia and Lucas to spend time together, appreciate the other's talents, and develop a friendship that only grows. The antiquities and forgery aspects were truly interesting, as it was the way Alicia and Lucas discovered what was going on.

Highly recommend this one. You don't have to read the series in order but it adds to the enjoyment.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

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The Cloverton Charade by Sarah E. Ladd is a captivating, unconventional, tale set in Regency England. I really enjoyed the character Olivia and her ability to appraise antiques. While she is a woman and cannot fully walk in her expertise to support her family’s business, she can discretely help a wealthy widow. Olivia is poised and educated, but she is not a classically trained gentlewoman who can impress others at a house party. Thankfully, she is there a companion to the eccentric widow and finds an ally in Lucas. There is something amiss as Olivia and Lucas realize they are both there to appraise the same collection and not all the items are what they seem. Rather than turn against each other, I enjoyed watching them come together and complement one another. The mystery was well paced and while not completely unpredictable, it was well done and held my attention all the way through. I love the attention to dialogue and character development.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.

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What a sweet story and fun mystery! Maybe I didn't read the description well enough, because the mystery caught me off guard! But I ended up loving it! This book has a gentle pace, and a non-stress inducing conflict, which is just my style! Add in a strong female lead and a love story with an HEA, and you just have the whole sweet historical fiction romantic mystery package! Thank you to NetGalley for my arc! All opinions are my own!

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This is a review for The Cloverton Charade by Sarah Ladd, and I received this copy for my review from NetGalley. I have been waiting for this book since I first heard it was coming out, as Sarah Ladd is one of my favorite authors, of whom I have all.her books! This book was so worth the wait, as I absolutely loved this story! It is set in the Regency era in Yorkshire, England, in 1810. The story begins with Olivia Brannon, the daughter of a very successful art dealer, whose father passes away, but who has taught Olivia the business, but sadly, upon her father's death, the business goes to her uncle who sees Olivia as more of a hired hand instead of letting her be a part of ongoing, successful business she should've inherited herself. She is allowed to help with the collection business, along with her friend Russell, but they both work for her uncle, who does not like to share the business with anyone!

Olivia is asked by the wife of one of her father's major collector clients, Mrs. Milton of Cloverton Hall to come and assess her husband's extensive collection, which she adores, because it is her one link to her beloved husband who has recently passed away. Since her husband has died, she needs to find out the collection's true monetary value quickly, so she goes to Olivia, whose father helped Mr. Milton purchase his collection. Olivia is thrilled that Mrs. Milton has come to her, but she is sworn to secrecy by Mrs. Milton, who invites Olivia, for appearance sake, to Cloverton Hall to secretly assess her husband's collection, which leads Olivia to get a glimpse into a life of luxury amongst the rich, but all isn't as it seems.

Since Mrs. Milton's husband has just died, and their nephew, George Wainbridge, will inherit Cloverton Hall, which is financially in trouble, so George also has ideas of selling his uncle's collection, which he doesn't care about in the slightest, but sees it only as a means to keep his estate running, but his aunt is standing in his way. George also needs to get the collection assessed to find out the value, so he hires the son of the arch rival of Olivia's father, Lucas Avery, who Olivia used to count as a close friend until their fathers, both art collectors and partners, had a falling out. Olivia was taught to avoid the Averys at all costs, but finds herself thrown together with Lucas at Cloverton Hall, both who are asked to asses its famous collection, but for two family rivals! Lucas and Olivia must decide to either stay enemies, or work together, but get caught up in a family feud that will lead them down a mysterious road of robbery, forgery and betrayal, but I won't spoil it!!!

This book engaged me from the first page, and was so well written, with amazing characters, and a plot that literally made me keep turning the pages because I was so engrossed! The ending led to a place that I least expected, and as I can't stand a book where I can figure out the plot, this book was awesome! It is right up there with the quality of books I have grown to love from this author! This regency era book is a very interesting and engaging art collection mystery that includes a hint of romance, and I loved it! So another 5 star book from Sarah Ladd, and I highly, highly recommend it!!!

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This book was so great! Full of mystery and especially fascinating antiquities, it was absolutely intriguing and romantic and delightful. I loved how Olivia and Lucas knew each other at some point as young people and then met again in this charade that they had to play in order to meet their goals. Olivia is a woman with incredible intelligence and cleverness when it comes to understanding the world of antiquities at this time, but she is a woman. She's expected to live the life of a young lady and leave her dreams behind in order to marry well. Lucas is struggling to bring stability and growth to his late father's business in antiquities. They are both discreetly invited to help in assessing the renowned Cloverton Hall collection.
As they both discover that there are counterfeits amongst the real pieces, they don't know who they can trust and eventually have to depend on each other to solve the mystery. I just loved how they come to know each other better and fall in love, as they work together to figure out what is truly happening at Cloverton Hall. Both Olivia and Lucas are such genuine and deep characters that want to do what is right and good. This was a perfect romance and mystery!

I received a copy of this book from Netgally, and all opinions are my own.

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Alicia and Lucas were the perfect rivals turned allies. I love that Alicia doesn't let others treat her as less in the business just because she's a woman. Sarah E Ladd did a great job making the book super entertaining and grabbing your attention from the very beginning. Such a fun book.

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Olivia Brannon’s deepest desire is to become a respected purveyor of antiquities, or antiquarian. Like an archaeologist, she imagines visiting distant lands to find rare and valuable items to procure for her vast clientele. And she would then provide a good living for herself and Laura, her younger sister. Were this 2024, the obstacles would prove minimal to someone with talent, like the lovely Miss Brannon. But she lives in 1820s London. This is a man's occupation.

Sarah E. Ladd’s The Cloverton Charade is an entertaining Regency-era mystery romance with a study in the differences between the coming-of-age experiences of young men and women. The conflicts explored are more than mere fiction. Women had few avenues for their lives. Most young ladies did not have a career. The most they could anticipate for themselves is life as a mother and a wife. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But Olivia wanted to be like her mother who had the added advantage of joining her father, Edward Brannon, on trips to seek out antiquities. They traveled to China, India, and Egypt. But mother died from diphtheria on a sea voyage to Italy. As a result, Edward believed travel too much for delicate females, so his daughters have always lived in their small sphere of London.

But this didn't stop Olivia from dreaming of a different life. She grew up learning about the trade of dealing in antiquities. Her father had a partner, another antiquarian, Timothy Avery. Their wives and children were close as well. When they had a falling out, they severed the relationship and became rivals. Mr. Brannon secured the deal of helping wealthy Francis Milton obtain his massive Chinoiserie Collection for their estate, Cloverton Hall, decorative items that depicted Chinese and Japanese motifs. (The name Milton sounded familiar. Perhaps a nod to Milton in the North of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South fame?)

When the story opens in the prologue, 14-year-old Olivia runs into 17-year-old Lucas Avery. They both see a beautiful vase Olivia's father obtained for the Miltons. This scene will play out once more later in the story like a biblical type-scene, an event that recurs and is expected to unfold in a certain manner. When he died, Edward Brannon left his business in the hands of Uncle Thomas. Thomas doesn’t have the same level of excitement and interest as now 22-year-old Olivia. For the most part, he leaves the business in the seemingly capable hands of his second-in-command, Russell Crane. Olivia tries to do more than function as an assistant, but Uncle Thomas despite recognizing her knowledge, says she is “not an agent of Brannon Antiquities.”

But widowed Mrs. Agnes Milton offers the opportunity for Olivia to step into action as an agent and flex her antiquarian skill set. (Mrs. Milton has no desire to engage Thomas' services.) Mrs. Milton asks Olivia to evaluate her personal collection of antiques. She sets up the one part of the charade of the story. Olivia will pose as Mrs. Milton's friend and companion at nephew George Wainbridge’s House Party. He and his sister Isabella have asked Mrs. Milton to host this welcome-to-our-lovely-estate party in Yorkshire.

Olivia resonates with Mrs. Milton's desire to find financial autonomy with the sale of her collection. After all, she wants financial autonomy and self-sufficiency, not just for herself, but also to care for her sister Laura, 16. They can get out from under stifling Uncle Thomas and live. Plus, she understands grief and the desire to hold on to objects that remind us of a loved one who has died. Despite her misgivings about the ruse, Olivia has always wanted to step into her father's shoes. She agrees to help, so Mrs. Milton in return provides her modiste to prepare Olivia to play the role so she can evaluate the collection without raising suspicion.

George Wainbridge, the Miltons' nephew, inherited Cloverton and its properties, including Windhurst Manor on the estate. As long as he allows Mrs. Milton to live out her days at Cloverton, George will keep Windhurst, the only property earning an income. But Cloverton needs financial assistance. (I found this great blog post here about money concerns as a man of wealth and property back then.) Just like Mrs. Milton, George needs an antiquarian to evaluate the Chinoiserie collection in secret. Through a mutual acquaintance, William Tate, Lucas Avery is invited to join George at the Cloverton House Party and evaluate the famous Milton Chinoiserie collection.

The stage is set. The charade begins. The single ladies arrive with their chaperones. The men arrive with their valets ready for dancing, sport, port, and least I think they drank port. They drank something anyway. (Probably smoked cigars, too. I know William Tate used snuff, too. Not a great habit. Surprise, surprise, even ladies indulged in this activity.)

A mystery unfolds as two people in trade navigate a world of wealth and privilege where everyone wears a mask for self-preservation, for keeping up with societal expectations, …or for committing a crime.

I’ll leave it there. I wrote in my notes that the first time Lucas and Olivia finally talk after seeing each other at Cloverton Hall took what felt like forever, leading to much suspense. Ladd is so great at that. And her descriptive scene-writing activated the theater of my mind. I needed no help imagining this opulent estate with so many antiquities, as well as the natural beauty of Yorkshire surrounding Cloverton Hall. I wanted to be Olivia and stay in the Blue Room…mostly because blue is my favorite color. The fact that Mrs. Milton can just barge in at any time since it’s attached to her suite...hmm, not so much.

The Cloverton Charade is a story with a mask-and-mirror theme. Olivia has only heard tales of London Seasons and house parties. She has a chance to wear the mask and play the role of a woman of wealth. In her disguise, she stares in the mirror and sees a stranger. She looks at the others around her as mirrors. She start to see what she lacks. The young ladies see Olivia as a mirror: their competition. They think she’s looking for a wealthy husband. To the men, Olivia indeed is this enchanting stranger. She doesn’t behave like most young women. She doesn’t play an instrument or sing. She doesn’t sew nor does she have needlework. She doesn’t draw or paint. Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice came to mind. Lady Catherine interrogates poor Elizabeth Bennet in front of everyone at dinner about her lack of education most gentlemen’s daughters receive from governesses or tutors.

Olivia can only take off the mask with Lucas Avery. They share a past, a love for antiquities, and so much more. She does have a heart-to-heart eventually with Miss Wainbridge and learns that everyone wears a mask in this world as a wealthy member of the ton. No one feels safe to live an authentic existence. True friendship is rare.

I enjoyed this third book in Ladd’s Houses of Yorkshire collection that can be read as a standalone novel. She is one of my favorite writers of historical fiction in that she is a fine storyteller and teaches history through story, while also including faith-based answers to problems that fit every era. Thank you to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to receive a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

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Amazing read! Rivals to lovers. Two antiques specialists are at the same place to do the same job, without anyone else finding out their true intentions. The two will have to work together to solve the puzzle before time runs out. I loved this book and would absolutely recommend this book to anyone!!

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This book was so good I had a hard time putting it down. This author doesn’t disappoint when it comes to capturing my attention and holding it. I recommend all her books, especially this one.

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Wow! What a fantastic book! It has romance, intrigue, and a mystery! I was completely surprised by the perpetrators! The romance is sweet and a reminder that love can happen when you least expect it!

The cast of characters is brilliant! Tied for my favorite is Olivia and Lucas! I love them both! They're extremely talented and smart! I like how they work as a team to solve the mystery. Mrs. Milton touched my heart. Her circumstances are not ideal, but she perseveres!

I really enjoy reading books by Sarah Ladd. Her books are filled with characters that are easy to like and relatable. The surprises that appear throughout the story are splendid!

I was provided a complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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How I loved this story! And all the art references! 😍 It was really interesting. I was so looking forward to this book and it delivered. This is the third book on the ‘Houses of Yorkshire’ series.
This novel was full of mystery, no one was truly who they were. It was all a charade and this adds so much to the story. This story embarks the reader into a journey of intrigue while at Cloverton Hall through the different characters actions and the art pieces. With a surprising twist you never see coming, that brings tension and ultimately the end, perfectly done.
Also, what I like the most of Ladd’s novels is that the romance is subtle and truly clean. This author is a favorite of mine.

I loved Olivia and Lucas from the very beginning. Olivia’s confidence in her skills adds so much to her character. I love when heroines have self esteem and know their worth without being arrogant and conceited.
“…confidence and knowing one’s worth is the most beautiful trait a woman can possess.”
Lucas was such a wonderful character. Always acknowledging and supporting Olivia. Together they were a powerful duo on antiquities 😏
…and the romance (sigh)
“…she was taking with her a piece of him that he could not live without — his heart.”
“I confess that I am hopelessly captivated by you. And if this past month had taught me anything, it’s that love, and love alone, makes life worth living.” ❤️❤️❤️

The main characters’ desire to leave grievances aside make them more likable in my opinion. When people are more adept to drop their odds quickly instead of dragging it all their lives I find it more appealing and relatable to life.
“…life is too short to hold on to grievances.”

And here are other excerpts I liked…

“It takes but one mishap to abolish trust, and once gone, it’s nearly impossible to restore.”

“Trust is built by listening, not speaking.”

“Very few hold true to a conviction, for it is easiest to do what is expected and easy.”

“And if it is gossip that is worrying you, don’t give it that power. People love to talk the things that take the focus from their own problems.”

“Emotion is the entire reason we do what we do, be it love, pride, affection, fear, or any number of motivations for why people amass things. What are any of us without emotion?”

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

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Title : "The Cloverton Charade"
Author : Sarah E. Ladd
May 7, 2024

The third installment of the Houses of Yorkshire series is a delightful read that seamlessly blends romance, history, and mystery into a captivating narrative. The plot revolves around Olivia Brannon, a young woman who finds herself embroiled in a world of antiquities when she accepts an invitation to evaluate a private collection at Cloverton Hall. Little does she know that her old friend turned rival, Lucas Avery, has his own agenda at the Hall, setting the stage for a captivating showdown between them. What sets this installment apart is its adept storytelling, with the author's skillful handling of character development and plot ensuring that readers are fully immersed in the unfolding drama. Against the backdrop of a Regency-era house party, Alicia and Lucas's interactions spark a friendship that gradually evolves amidst the intrigue, adding an extra layer of depth to the narrative. Whether you're a devoted fan of the series or a newcomer, this book is sure to delight. With its compelling storyline and well-crafted characters, this installment comes highly recommended for fans of historical romance and mystery alike.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

***Many Thanks to the Author #SarahELadd, Publisher #ThomasNelson and #NetGallery for the advanced copy of the book.
#TheClovertonCharade #HistoricalFiction #Romance

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This was such a good book! I am such a fan of Sarah E. Ladds books so I was excited for this one. It didn’t disappoint, I loved the storyline and the characters! Highly recommend!

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An excellent Regency era tale set between London and an estate in Yorkshire. A house party brings together people from different levels of society under some pretense. A mystery is uncovered, and a romance begins amidst the tension.

Well-written with a steady pace, this story kept my interest from the first to last pages. All of the tension builds to an exciting climax and some 'aha' moments that I didn't see coming. There is a bit of action, but nothing too violent.

I enjoyed the characters of Olivia and Lucas, and hoped they would be given a happy resolution to their conundrum. They had a backstory that added a theme of forgiveness, family loyalty, and finding their own way forward.
Olivia was a young woman with a strong moral compass, who didn't shrink from a challenge. I applauded her bravery and felt for her vulnerablility among the societal elites. She was courageous and true. Loved the ending!

A good, clean read, perfect for any reader from teens and up. 4.5 stars

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)

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I really enjoyed this book so much.. it was a wonderful story and I enjoyed all the characters. The story got very suspenseful and I could not put the book down. I enjoy reading anything by this author. I look forward to reading more books in the future by this author..

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Book 3 of 3 - Two people are hired to sneak through a Regency England home appraising antiques. What they find is surprise, even finding love. Clean romance.

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The Cloverton Charade by Sarah E. Ladd has many possibilities. A pair of London based antiquities appraisers, Olivia and Lucas, attend a Yorkshire house party. They begin as rivals with a history, each is secretly evaluating an antiquities collection at the request of separate persons without the other's knowledge. They eventually become suspicious of why the other person is attending the house party. When a question comes up about the authenticity of some of the pieces, they begin to work together. As Olivia and Lucas continue to work together, they also start to find the other attractive. This story works very well as a clean romance and as a an intriguing criminal mystery. How will it all end? Will they find the counterfeiters/thieves? Will they get together in the end? Follow the story through all the complex twists and turns and find out. A very satisfying read!

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