Tuesday, June 4, 2024

THE CROWN CONSPIRACY by Connie Mann, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca #ReleaseDay

(A Speranza Team Novel)


*Speranza = Hope*
Sophie Williams is on a dangerous search for a missing painting that was gifted to her friend Lise who has also disappeared. What mysteries does the decades old royal portrait hold? Sophie, an expert art forger, embarks on a seemingly wild goose chase from Germany to Italy for answers. She is pursued by an art recovery agent Mac McKenzie and others. Just how many are anxious to find this painting and for what purpose?

Spectacular suspense and excitement are non-stop as Sophie encounters a troupe of women called Speranza, a secret group who champions women in need. More action than a James Bond film and reminiscent of a heist movie, this excellently plotted book has a spiritual lesson included. “I believe in God, even when He is silent.”

This first in a series hints at more adventures for Sophie, Mac and the gang and some room for characters to grow in their faith; I am extremely eager for follow-up books.
*I received an ARC copy from Tyndale Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions are mine alone.* 5 stars and an underlying faith thread.

"  . . . and I believe in God even when He is silent.
I believe through any trial there is a way."

"Stay in character. He can't possibly know who you are." Who would have thought that a little tiny thing like shapely calves could plant a seed of doubt into a savvy art investigator's mind? Sophie Williams' transformation into the much older "Frau Bauernstein" for the evening should have been flawless; she had a job to do, the opportunity to do it, and except for "the incredibly handsome blue-eyed, black-haired, tuxedo-clad man" who showed up on the dance floor, her disguise would never had been questioned.

"Had he found Robin Hood?" There was an incredibly elusive art thief roaming the streets of Germany, replacing stolen originals with beautifully painted forgeries and Mac McKenzie had been hired by the most influential man in the country to find one of them. Sensing that following the mysterious woman he had met the night before was key to discovering the valuable painting . . . he did . . . and then again he didn't. She was slippery as an eel and seemed to not only have enemies at every turn, but a host of very competent friends.

Multi-layered and overflowing with interesting characters, this high-stakes game of cat and mouse was as pleasant as it was perplexing. Multiple plot lines raced for priority while the details of each remained completely tangled, yet satisfyingly knotted. Admittedly it was a bit confusing at first to determine which story line would emerge as pivotal or which characters were worth noting, but it took no time at all to become fully invested in the carefully crafted drama that was taking place between the pages of "Speranza" . . . "Hope."

A finely written suspense with the promise of more of the same!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
She’s a master at spotting a forgery . . . and knowing how to create one. But can she solve a decades-old mystery?

The media spotlight is the last thing art thief and forger Sophie Williams needs. But when one of three long-missing royal portraits turns up in Germany at her best friend’s art gallery, the spotlight is exactly what she gets. Since the tragic deaths of Princess Johanna of Neuhansberg and her two children forty years ago, the whereabouts of these portraits have been unknown . . . and the timing of their reappearance—just days before a new prince’s coronation—reignites questions surrounding the infamous accident.

Then Sophie’s best friend vanishes, and a rumor about hidden treasure connected to the paintings surfaces, seemingly confirmed by a cryptic message on the back of the first canvas. Convinced that finding the other two portraits will lead to her friend, Sophie begins a twisty investigation that pits her against other ruthless treasure hunters, a handsome investigator who seems to dog her trail at every turn, and a mysterious group that offers help, wearing an emblem identical to one on the painting.

From Germany’s grand castles and soaring cathedrals through the Alps to the canals of Venice, Sophie must choose her allies carefully if she hopes to find the portraits, rescue her best friend—and perhaps save a throne—before time runs out.

A clean, contemporary adventure with a dash of romance
A thrilling cold case mystery
Includes discussion questions for book groups 

Tyndale House Publishing, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this lovely review! I'm delighted you enjoyed The Crown Conspiracy!


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