The Girl with the Treasure Chest – Veronica Fearon

The Girl with the Treasure ChestDani is a player. With a background in youth work, a personal history of crime, an attitude as big as Mount Everest and a posse of boys who worship the ground she walks on, she is unstoppable. She spends her time negotiating gangland disputes and facilitating deals among worst of London’s vicious underground. Those she works with think she is cool and always in control but those closest to her now she has a fiery temper.

She has always kept her private life private, although her lieutenants’ are aware of her penchant for dating independent women with children. Her current girlfriend, Marie, tolerates her absences and odd hours and somehow knows that her young daughter may be what keeps Dani around.

When Susanna, Dani’s on-again off-again ex reappears, Dani is thrown into a tailspin. Unable to control her emotions, especially her fears, her wild behavior will put everybody in danger and threatened to destroy everything she has worked for.

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This is the Veronica Fearon’s first novel and what an excellent start. Set in modern day London this is a gritty tale of love, loyalty and survival in the estates and the gangs that inhabit them. The tone, the settings, even the voices make this a novel very much of London. This is not a world I inhabit, but having lived in Brixton and Camberwell for many years it has an authentic energy I recognize.

The characters are very real. Their behavior and interaction is very recognizable. Even their internal monologues are something we can all identify with. Even if we have never been personally involved in the gangs and the ghettos this story inhabits we can all remember back to our teenage days when the bullies and the boys ‘on the make’ strutted among us, posing and pushing to establish themselves.

The interaction between Dani and her soldiers shows the level of hero worship a leader can attain, even if that leader is a Boi. Dani’s management and manipulation of the gang members she is trying to control is masterful and shows a deep understanding of the psychology of young men.

As a delightful counterpoint to all the darkness we have Dani’s obvious affection for Charlie and Mr Goldenberg her elderly tailor. We see the softer side of her soldiers when they are off duty with their women. And most of all we see how Dani’s obsessive and blind adoration of Susanna defeats all her self-control, all her native intelligence and brings out a fierce, almost animalistic, need to own and protect.

Veronica Fearon BiogThis novel is a long way from the happy WASP romances of many other LesFic authors, whose characters would not survive two minutes in this environment. It is a harsh and aggressive world, interspersed with moments of humor and lightness. Well-written and well executed. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Warning: this book contains scenes of significant violence. It is not gratuitous and is an essential part of the plot, but if you don’t like violence you may be offended by some scenes.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • First published 2013
  • Publisher: Village Books (September 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EZSR2MW
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