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And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily) by Tasha…
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And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily) (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Tasha Alexander

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,163586,976 (3.63)91
Member:majkia
Title:And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily)
Authors:Tasha Alexander
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2006), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library, Recently Read, Mystery
Rating:***1/2
Tags:ebook, period mystery, 13 in 13, ROOT, TIOLI, AlphaCAT

Work details

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (2005)

  1. 90
    Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (francescadefreitas)
    francescadefreitas: Similar themes, set in a similar time period.
  2. 40
    Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Unconventional heroines rebel against Victorian mores to pursue their intellectual interests. The Elizabeth Peters novels are sillier (including prodding people with parasols) and is set against a backdrop of Egyptian archaeology. The Tasha Alexander mysteries are less openly subversive of Victorian morals, and And Only to Deceive draws on Homer's Iliad.… (more)
  3. 20
    The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry (ddelmoni)
  4. 10
    A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (TheLibraryhag)
  5. 00
    Consequences of Sin by Clare Langley-Hawthorne (nancyK18)
    nancyK18: In her debut book the author propvides readers with a Victorian mystery featuring a likeable character.
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English (57)  Piratical (1)  All languages (58)
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
I'll definately read another of these, but I don't like them as much as Deanna Raybourne's Lady Julia series. I'm fascinated by the idea that a widow could come to love the *idea* of her husband after he's dead without having loved him while he was alive. This and the Classics angle were both very interesting. Lady Emily herself was interesting and competent and charming and intelligent (educating herself, learning Greek, Suffragette Friends, etc). Then at some point she just...went a little dumb. She got smarter again, and it seemed like Alexander had created a heroine too smart for the simplistic mystery she created. As this is a first novel (and in my state of affairs, I'm extremely lenient about first novels), I'll definately try another. Worth a look if you like the genre. ( )
1 vote aliceoddcabinet | Jul 25, 2015 |
Here is a book with a great many reviews. I might not have a lot to add. It is set in the very late 1880s. With some flashbacks that take us a few years prior to when Emily, our heroine, came out and her mother pushed her to marry. The mystery involves the sleuthing around copies placed in museums of antiquities so that the very rich could purchase the really thing for themselves. So on this front we have a good, though imperfect mystery. Our sleuth is talked out of direct action with those she is investigating and persuaded to let agents act in her place so we have such encounters second hand. Then we have a dual romance which is much more effective as the indifferent bride and widow learns enough of her husband to fall in love with the man once he is gone. There Ms. Alexander does great service and creates a touching romantic chord.

That is enough to decide that the 2nd book in the series might be a worthwhile read as well. There is enough detail and description to give one a feel for the later half of the 19th century, but perhaps more historical setting and detail would be even more appreciated. ( )
  DWWilkin | Jul 15, 2015 |
Well-researched and true to the times, Alexander's first novel of Lady Emily is an enjoyable read. Lady Emily proves an usual woman in Victorian England when she asserts herself beyond social constraints to solve the mysterious death of her husband. References to ancient art and Greek poetry sit well with the setting. With echoes of Sherlock Holmes, this reader eagerly anticipates the next novel. ( )
  Meghanista | Jul 1, 2015 |
I have Goodreads recommendations to thank for introducing me to a talented new author.

My initial reaction to [b:And Only to Deceive|288159|And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily, #1)|Tasha Alexander|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1173437188s/288159.jpg|806780] was one of pleasure at Ms Alexander's ability to sustain a higher-than-average register for the first-person narrative. This was replaced by disappointment in the back story and its development. Publicity references to the heroine's exploration of her deceased husband's journals had led me to expect a bibliographic mystery along the lines of [b:The Club Dumas|7194|The Club Dumas|Arturo Pérez-Reverte|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327896341s/7194.jpg|372756] or, my favorite in the genre, Colin Wilson's [b:The God of the Labyrinth|55470|The God of the Labyrinth|Colin Wilson|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nocover/60x80.png|54056]. What I found was a relatively simple mystery concerning the authenticity of historical artifacts.

What should have been the core of the story — the prematurely widowed heroine's discovery of her husband's love for her, and her increasing affection for the man she never got to know — is smothered in too much ambiguity. Friends tell her that perhaps she's idolising her deceased husband, and she herself has trouble reconciling her growing attraction with negative feelings about some of his less attractive interests such as big-game hunting. This ambiguity neutralises the main romantic element in the story and leaves behind only the pedestrian mystery of the fake artifacts, a handful of two-dimensional villains, and a budding on-off rebound romance that fails to evoke much interest or sympathy.

Ms Alexander's end-of-book comments about its historical background, whilst considerate, would probably be of limited interest to any reader with even a passing familiarity with Victorian society and mores. The description of the inspiration for the book is far more enlightening, but leaves the reader wondering why more was not made of the Santorini angle. ( )
  skirret | Jan 2, 2015 |
I've been meaning to read Tasha Alexander's much-touted novel of suspense, And Only to Deceive, for some time now. Set in Victorian England, this is the story of newly widowed Lady Emily Ashton, who is sorting through her emotions over the death of a husband she barely knew and didn't love. As she learns more about the late Philip Ashton, she discovers his deep love for her and begins to reciprocate, alas, too late. At the same time, she becomes involved in the complicated underworld of black-market antiquities, art forgeries, and scandal reaching up to the highest ranks of the aristocracy. Was her husband involved in these unethical dealings before his death?

The use of Greek poetry and tidbits of various other classic writings lends the novel an air of elegance, which unfortunately is dispelled by the rather stilted dialogue and plodding plot. Nothing much seems to happen besides a succession of conversations and the occasional passionate kiss. The "mystery" is not terribly compelling, and I didn't find Lady Emily the memorable heroine that so many other readers have. Despite the author's laudable desire to make her characters true to the period (no 21st-century people dressed up in 19th-century clothes), I'm not sure she succeeded. In particular, I found Lady Bromley an unconvincing caricature of a marriage-mad mother, so ridiculous and over the top that she quickly becomes boring.

This novel reminded me of Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Grave and its successors. Fairly enjoyable for an afternoon, but not something to which I'll return. ( )
  wisewoman | Jul 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
On first looking into Chapman's Homer

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

- John Keats
Dedication
FOR MATT
"my soul's far better part..."
First words
Few people would look kindly on my reasons for marrying Philip; neither love nor money nor his title induced me to accept his proposal.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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. 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 surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006114844X, Paperback)

From gifted new writer Tasha Alexander comes a stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England, meticulously researched and with a twisty plot that involves stolen antiquities, betrayal, and murder

And Only to Deceive

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. 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 surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:09 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Accepting a dashing viscount's marriage proposal as part of a plan to escape her overbearing mother, Emily finds herself widowed early after her marriage and subsequently learns that her husband was not who he professed to be, a discovery that prompts an investigation in the quiet corridors of the British Museum.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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