Saturday, April 11, 2009

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

“For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overhearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily’s dashing husband died on safari soon after their wedding, she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him. Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different man from the one she had married so cavalierly. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with his wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new image of her dead husband and she immerses herself in all things ancient and begins to study Greek. Emily’s intellectual pursuits and her desire to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband’s favorite places. There, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to complicate matters, she’s juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprised about Philip and causes her to question the roles in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.”

I was really looking forward to reading this mystery and maybe my hopes were a little too high because I ended up being pretty disappointed. If you love art history, especially with a focus on ancient Greece then you will probably like this book. The majority of the book felt like a history lesson, there was more focus on the different pieces of art than there was on the actual mystery. It felt like the author was really pushing who the good-guy was and who the bad-guy was, so for me it made it really obvious who was who and what was going to happen. I may have enjoyed this more if I had actually liked Emily more. I couldn’t figure out what all these men saw in her? Maybe it was just me, but she was kind of a boring character. As for our hero (I won’t name him, to help keep some mystery), I could have really liked him, but he was rarely on the scene. I was a bit surprised by how much they ended up liking each other, when they spent so little time together (again, what is it about Emily that men love so much?) Throughout the book I couldn’t help thinking of the movie “Charade” with Audrey Hepburn, which had a very similar storyline. I’ve heard the next book is better, so I think I will give it a try.

Book One: And Only to Deceive
Book Two: A Poisoned Season
Book Three: A Fatal Waltz
Book Four: Tears of Pearl

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