by Tasha Alexander
Series: Lady Emily Mystery #1
Publication Date: October 11, 2005
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
‘A Novel of Suspense.’
No, not really. Whomever read this book and thought it suspenseful needs to get out more.
It was a very good read though – I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s the age-old tale of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ with Greek antiquities, art forgery, romance and mystery thrown into the mix.
Emily makes a very good marriage to Viscount Ashton for the sole purpose of getting away from her harpy of a mother: a decision I whole-heartendly endorsed after only one scene involving that nasty shrew. Mere months after the marriage, her husband dies of a fever while on an African safari, leaving her a very wealthy widow. When her late husband’s best friend, Colin, pays her a visit, telling her he promised Lord Ashton that Emily would see their villa in Santorini, Greece – a property she owned but didn’t even know about – she decides she ought to learn more about this man she married but knew nothing about.
Thus begins Emily’s adventures. As she learns more about her husband Philip, she learns she had a very good man in her life for far too short a time – or maybe he wasn’t such a good man? This is what comes from a lack of communication in a marriage: Emily is left with contradicting information and evidence – he was either very noble or a massive scoundrel She must sort it all out since she has fallen obsessively in love with her husband post mortem. I found this just a touch nauseating – almost to eye-rolling stage. I understand the regret she’d feel, but not love after the fact.
Along the way, she discovers another passion; this one for knowledge, specifically, ancient Greece. She dives into her education, much to the consternation and disgust of her mother – which really, is a total perk for both Emily and the reader.
I loved the characterisations – each person is boldly sketched out on the page, clear enough to almost be seen. The Parisian settings are vivd, even though few words are used.
The plot was well done, although again – NOT suspenseful. This isn’t the sort of plot the reader figures out before Lady Emily does. The villain is revealed slowly over the course of the story. There’s no grand denouement, although there is a critical unveiling, which I thought was handled particularly well (no TSTL moments).
There are 8 more books in this series so far – YAY! I’m off to order the next few; I definitely enjoyed the story enough to want to know what happens next.
NB: I particularly enjoyed that the author thought to include a few brief sections at the end: The Story behind The Story, Fact vs. Fiction, Location, Location, Location and a Suggested Reading. As a complete novice with all things historical, I appreciated knowing what was authentic to the time, and what she took authorial license with. It’s a nice touch.