And Only to Deceive
By: Tasha Alexander
This is the first book in the Lady Emily series of Victorian mysteries, and since I was in a historical fiction kind of mood, it seemed appropriate. This series had actually been on my book list for quite a while, and I had picked up the second book in the series at a book sale somewhere along the way, so I thought it was about time I started it.
The most important thing in a book like this is to like the main character, especially since it’s written in the first person. Fortunately I did. She was the right combination of independent and confident, while still being believable, and faltering from time to time. She wasn’t too strong or too weak. The characters surrounding her complimented her nicely, and presented plenty of suspicious options as to who the culprit really was.
While the story was intriguing in a “who done it” sort of way and with its connections to antiquities and Greek history, I felt like something was missing. By the time I finished the book I realized what it was, danger. Lady Emily, despite poking her nose into some slightly dangerous plots, was never in any real danger. There was no running about London, or wandering its seedy underbelly. It was all a very proper kind of danger. However, after reading the author’s explanation in the back of the book, I understood this lack of real, action packed, danger.
The author explains that she didn’t want to take a modern girl with modern, freethinking sensibilities, and stick her in period costume. The idea was to make a character that was dangerous and shocking for her time, and with that she succeeded. After thinking about it, I realized I was just expecting something that has become a bit of a cliche, and in a way, I rather like this idea of a heroine who is a little ahead of her time, without fully removing herself from the society she is a part of.
I think I’ll definitely be reading more of this series. I like variety, and I’ve been a little lacking in the historical fiction department lately. I’ve only read a couple mysteries in the past, and I find that placing them in a historical setting makes them a lot more fun. Until next time…