Author: Tasha Alexander
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Copy: Library Copy
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: For Emily, the sudden proposal of Philip, Viscount Ashton, freed her from her overbearing mother, set on a grand match. When the new groom died on safari, she felt little grief. Two years later, his journals reveal surprises, a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector deeply in love with his wife.
In his beloved quiet British Museum, she finds a dangerous secret while juggling two suitors, one whose intentions may go beyond marriage. Her search to solve the crime leads to more surprises about Philip, and questions about her role as a woman in Victorian society.
Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series has been on my radar for a few years and I finally decided to give the first book, And Only to Deceive, a read because I love the synopsis to the ninth book, The Counterfeit Heiress. I wasn’t sure if this is one of those series where you have to read the first in order to understand or enjoy the rest of the books and therefore decided to start at the beginning.
We have good character development. Our main heroine is Emily, Lady Ashton who is a young widow. She’s your typical Victorian woman and struggles to break free from society rules and one way she does this, is to marry Viscount Ashton. Throughout the novel, we see her transformation with Emily developing her own interests (enough so that anything she says sends her mother into a frenzy). Then we have the mysterious and ever so handsome Colin Hargreaves. Much of what we know of him comes from Emily’s observations, but the little hints we get, clearly mean he’s one of the good guys despite what Emily thinks. We have a whole array of secondary characters that play a vital role include Arthur Palmer and his brother.
Narration is first person via Emily and it makes sense since this is her journey. I struggled reading And Only To Deceive and I’m not sure if it’s because everything is from Emily’s perspective or if it was the vast amount of background that Alexander gives us in order to set up the final chapters. I also felt, the ending dragged a bit too long for my own personal preference. I actually thought the chapter before the final two would have a great way to end the novel, but I understand why Alexander ends it the way she does and a part of me was happy to see that ending. And as far as the mystery goes…there’s not much there. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, but we don’t get to uncover anything until the final chapters and by then it’s pretty obvious what is going on. I won’t go into detail because it would be a spoiler, but I wanted to shake Emily a few times.
Overall, Tasha Alexander’s And Only To Deceive was a bit of a disappointment, but I’ll read the second and see where things stand. If need be, I’ll jump to the ninth book see how it stands on its own.