Any Old Diamonds

Narrated by: Cornell Collins
Series: Lilywhite Boys, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4.7 out of 5 stars (253 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes, the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, holds a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary - so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.  

The Duke's remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: He'll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec's new best friend.  

But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman's most secret desires, and soon he's got Alec in his bed - and the palm of his hand.  

Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what's between them...all without getting caught.

©2019 KJ Charles (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Any Old Diamonds

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Emotional whiplash

Set a generation after the trapeze artist stories, in that version of England, a duke’s children are scraping by, with what counts as scraping by for the aristocracy, on a meager allowance and in the case of Alec, his skills as an illustrator. He hires professional jewel thieves to steal a necklace from his wicked stepmother and in the course of setting up the heist, they fall for each other. Content warnings for death by means violent and neglectful. There’s low gore but as a primary plot driver, it’s integral to the tale. There’s also a brutal beating, thieving by protagonists, and general worries over gay sex being illegal. The tale of the heist kept me involved. The choices people made, in part, due to laws of the time, made things difficult for the characters and me as a reader. Every main character had me both rooting for them and cringing away from them at some point. I get that people are imperfect but this book really offers wild swings between what is & isn’t “good” behavior given boundary conditions of what is & isn’t legal or possible. The mitigating circumstances do not quite sway me from cringing at some choices. And there was a little too much “getting back at my dad by hurting his wife dynamic” hence -1 star. The whiplash examples: Alec’s father is a terrible father and a rather miserable employer but… he truly loves his 2nd wife and makes improvements to his house and estate. Alec is tough and self supporting and a good brother & he, himself is kind but… with the “I can be friends with a perpetrator of genocide” kind of kindness that can be annoyingly, and potentially fatally, shortsighted. Yes, find the humanity in these people who will cheerfully, or grudgingly, kill you but don’t help them hurt you! Literally the second he is out of the crosshairs he will forgive slights to himself. (But not to his sister.) Jerry is pragmatic and caring to those he values but… he values very few people. He might not be lovable by one such as me despite him being nearly my ideal in his private tastes. Unlike the fortune teller (referenced in this book, from the previous series), a jewel thief seeks out his victims. He doesn’t just target those who ask. Having been robbed I have pretty strong feelings about not liking robbers. Then again, how ever much jewels may mean sentimentally, a jewel thief does target people who most likely can absorb financial loss, and had likely exploited people to afford the jewels. And when one’s standard employment options have evaporated, punching up is better than punching down. So I fundamentally reject part of him for the hurt he causes others in his career. But he’s a good foil for Alec. Steam. Medium-hot. On page M/M sex happens in several scenes, pretty much all in a D/s dynamic. The kink isn’t around pain or humiliation at all and consent is explicit and exquisitely attended to. I’m a little thrown by another reviewer thinking the kink here is extreme since I’d be tempted to offer this as an entry level foray into healthy D/s kink.Alec can handle his life fine, he’d just prefer not to make decisions in the boudoir. Jerry, who prefers making decisions in the boudoir, figures this out. The dynamic’s a big part of why they get together; Jerry can direct without taking advantage,addressing a problem that has plagued Alec’s earlier forays. Honestly the sexual dynamic is the healthiest thing these guys have going. But for sex & Alec’s art, the plot is a jumble of morally questionable actions. Narration: I usually like this narrator and do here. He uses good dynamics. The production quality is consistent. (I wish narrators would sing when folk songs are included though.)

9 people found this helpful

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Another masterpiece of storytelling by KJ Charles

There are very few titles I buy without reading the reviews and certainly fewer that I pre-order, KJ Charles is the exception and so far I have never been let down by her work. This type of story is not everyone's cup of tea, but for those who enjoy a regency feel with an M/M romance it doesn't get better than this! Another reason this audio story is amazing is because of the narration. Cornell Collins is FABULOUS. He does characters' voices with such a dramatic flair, I am always captivated by his performances. He does women's voice well, does each character with unique expressions and I never have to think about whom is speaking. A final note--if you have not read or listened to her other books set in a similar time period (not the Magpie ones) like Society of Gentlemen and Sins of the City series I would start with those first. They are not dependent upon one another to know or enjoy the stories but reading or (even better) listening to those stories first makes this one feel much richer and familiar,

3 people found this helpful

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Wow

It must be said that I was already a KJ Charles fan BUT this book was so good it's one of a select few I've listened to twice. The story was well thought out, we revisited characters from other books, the sex was steamy and the emphasis on consent is second to none. love, love, love

2 people found this helpful

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Twisty and naughty

This is a great twisting plot with sexy gentleman. A smart and surprising tail about righting past wrongs. And the narrator's voice is lovely.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic story, fantastic narration

After loving the Magpie Lord audiobooks I decided to try another KJ Charles/Cornell Collins audiobook and was not disappointed. Any Old Diamonds was a fun story about thieves, aristocrats, betrayal, murder, and with some hot D/s sex and a M/M love story. Totally enjoyed it start to finish. Fantastic performance by Cornell Collins!

2 people found this helpful

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surprise double plotline

I enjoyed the twist in the plotline, I had to reverse and listen again to make sure I had it right. wonderful book.

2 people found this helpful

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Pretty Good

This book was pretty good. I enjoyed the twist, turns and surprises. I may read the other books in this series.

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Stolen Diamonds, Found Love

Any Old Diamonds is the first book in the Lilywhite Boys series, a spinoff from the Sins of the Cities series. It is not necessary to have read the Sin of Cities first before enjoying this book, but it was fun to see old characters living out their lives happily. There is also a prequel, The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter, which is a nice introduction to the series, but once again, not necessary to read before starting this book. Alec is the estranged son of the Duke of Ilvar. The Duke is a cruel man who’s so blinded by his love and desire for his second wife that he’s destroyed all other relationships in his life. Jerry is the thief and criminal Alec hires to help him steal his stepmother’s jewels. The plot seems pretty straightforward: family revenge, a jewel heist, and a simmering romance; however, K.J. Charles takes what could have been any standard jewel thief romance and made it incredible. There are some fantastic plot twists and intrigue that really makes the plot so much more dynamic and complicated. The characterization of the both Alec and Jerry was really well done. They felt mature yet vulnerable. Clever but not infallible. I loved the intensity of their relationship (power dynamic kink) and the underlying tenderness to it. The audiobook was narrated by Cornell Collins who does a wonderful job. Cornell’s voice was perfect for 19th century London. He did a great job voicing the characters and added the right amount of flair and inflections for all the different scenes. The audiobook production was well done and it was an extremely enjoyable listen.

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The most SUPERB narration I've ever heard!

over the last week i have purchased as binged many of KJ Charles' impeccable work and i saved this one for last because i was dubious about the plot. I WISH I COULD READ IT AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME. this story was stupendous! absolutely perfectly manufactured and articulated and executed. i could gush literally for the rest of my life about this. When Alexander gave his first recount of events which are his motivations for his actions, i felt true horror and dispaire for him and his family, it was so well written. the mm scenes as well were steamy perfection and the romance truly lovely as well although i wish we had a little more information on Jerry's story. Overall what really tied this together was this immaculate climax beginning at the remaining 2hr mark and not ceasing with the tension until only 20mins were left. If you're wondering if this book is for you, i assure you that this book is for everyone!

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A historical heist!

Alex is the impoverished second son of a duke. He hires the Lilywhite Boys to pull off a heist at his estranged father’s home. They are in it for the long game. Another great book by KJ Charles. Hot and a plot twist I didn’t see coming. Loved the narration.

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  • Michael Humphrey
  • 05-20-20

Was not expecting that 😳

Downloaded this to have on the headphones while I did some gardening. Was not expecting such an enjoyable and well considered stroy line. I dont want to give anything away but the many twists really keep you wanting more. love the characters and the dialect and the progression of character depth as the story unfolds .

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  • C M Silver
  • 10-19-20

Gerrymandering the Prim Rose Path

Well written, dramatic period tale. MCs you can like, perfectly defined and characterized, in an interesting intriguing jewel theft adventure with a twist. Emotionally engaging entrapments and revelations. So refreshing to find real English, performed with perfect narration as only an Englishmen can voice or appreciate. Laugh out laud funny at times. SO ENJOYABLE

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  • Sam Jones
  • 06-07-20

Delicious and delightful!

KJ Charles is an absolute gem. Their stories are always so adventurous and delightful without ever becoming predictable. I did NOT see the plot twist coming in this one. But special shout out to my boy Cornell Collins. Dude doesn’t just narrate what’s on the page, he makes you feel it - which for some of the erotic scenes is such an achievement! Love, love, love this. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll feel the same.