A novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England and featuring stolen antiquities, betrayal and murder. For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her stifling home life so when her new husband dies on safari, she feels little grief for she barely knew the man. Now, two years on, when she finds his journals she discovers a very different man to the one she thought she had married - one who was a gentleman scholar who was very much in love with his new wife. Emily ...
A novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England and featuring stolen antiquities, betrayal and murder. For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her stifling home life so when her new husband dies on safari, she feels little grief for she barely knew the man. Now, two years on, when she finds his journals she discovers a very different man to the one she thought she had married - one who was a gentleman scholar who was very much in love with his new wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new image of her dead husband and immerses herself in his intellectual pursuits, studying Greek and spending time in the quiet corridors of the British Museum. But there, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. and as she sets out to solve the crime she discovers even more surprises about her dead husband.
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This is a smart & entertaining late-Victorian mystery. The author went to great lengths to ensure that her lead, Lady Emily, was not anachronistically feminist, but also relatable and admirable for modern readers. It wasn't too difficult to pinpoint the bad guy (pretty standard fare), but it was fun to follow Emily's charachter development as the story unfolded. And the mystery itself was unique enough and well-written enough to hold my attention for the entire novel.
The back says that fans of Elizabeth Peters and Anne Perry will enjoy this book. I agree with that -- there are clear parallels between the Peabody and Pitt mystery series. I'd place Tasha Alexander right between those two eminent authors on the scale of light-heartedness (Perry is definitely the most serious of the 3, and Peters can be downright silly at times, in a good way).
I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Nov 1, 2007
I Really enjoyed it
Although not an intellectual read, and not even an unpredictable mystery, I still found myself enjoying it and liking her characters. I bought her next book, A Poisoned Season and will be starting it soon. I just found her lead sort of endearing in spite of there not appearing to be anything endearing about her - a sort of character who knows her own faults, struggles with them, but refuses to let others see her sweat.
Jul 11, 2007
Embroiled in Scandal...
This historical fiction/mystery book tells the story of Emily Bromley in the Victorian era, after her husband (a hunting enthusiast as well as a collector of ancient artifacts) of a few months dies on a safari in Africa. Although Emily socially grieves her husband, her real response is at best sympathetic towards her husband's untimely demise, as Emily's real reason for marrying Philip only concerned getting out of her mother's house. The mystery aspects of this book come into play when the real reasons for Philip's death become obscure, to the point where Emily is convinced that Philip is alive. Relying on two male, influential members of society, Emily conducts her search. Discovering false artifacts and black-market activities, Emily realizes that there was more to her late husband than met the eye. Or was there? Unfortunately, though the plot is interesting, Emily's feminist independance seems unlnikely in such a staid age, taking into account the fact that Emily drank port and smoked cigars in public, while still retaining her good reputation. Although some might support such a gutsy heroine, my opinion is that her seeming indifference to society's norms did little to contribute to the authenticity of the book.
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