And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery
Hardback 320 pages
Book Source: Free Library of Philadelphia (2009)
My Rating: 83/100
For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. But when Philip 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. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love. Emily becomes fascinated with her dead husband, immerses herself in all things ancient, and begins to study Greek.
Emily's desire to learn more about Philip takes her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum. There, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprises about her husband and causes her to examine her role as a woman in Victorian society.
This is the first book in Alexander's Lady Ashton series. I accidentally read the second one, A Poisoned Season, before this one, and it's probably a good thing that I did. I was not a fan of Emily in this book. At all. If I had this one first, I never would have continued with the series. At first I liked Emily. Her resolve to be single as long as she could. Her independent spirit, all the things I liked in Poisoned Season were here in Deceive. However once Emily comes to love Philip's spirit and she realizes what she lost, she becomes very melancholy, and melodramatic. Granted she needed time to grieve and she felt like a low human being since Philip adored her, and she didn't return those feelings during his lifetime, I felt as though she grieved too much, or too long. I felt like that dragged the story a bit.
The mystery and suspense, the London environment, the clothing and other characters were all superbly done, but Emily herself worked a nerve for a chunk of the book. I'm certainly glad she grew and changed her tune in Deceive, but I don't think I would have continued with the series, if I had read them in order. Weird huh?
For more information about Tasha Alexander, please visit her website: http://www.tashaalexander.com/
Definitely visit her website, because there are a ton of lovely pictures and information about the places the characters visit in these books.