Publication Date: October 11, 2005
Length: 320 pages
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
This is a long running series with seventeen books. Her new one is set to be published this fall and has yet to even have a description summary yet. I wanted to start with this book because it is the first in the series. Each book features Lady Emily as the main character as she solves a mystery, often in different locations around the world.
Lady Emily has been recently widowed and hardly knew her husband, the Viscount Phillip of Ashton. She only accepted his proposal in the first place to escape her life with her overbearing mother and had no real connection to Phillip. They weren't together long as he went to Africa on safari and died there. Emily at first revels in her widowhood and new found freedom that was given to her upon his death and inheritance of plenty of wealth to keep her comfortable but soon she begins to read his journals and finds herself falling in love with him. He clearly was in love with her as evidenced in his writings and Emily starts to regret she hadn't known him better or for longer.
She finds he was also an articulate, well educated, interesting man who through his affiliation with the museum and artifacts fascinate her and she begins to be interested in learning more about Greek history, poetry, and Phillip's association with it all.
She is faced in her real, everyday life with her dead husband's friend, Colin Hargreaves and is not so smitten at first. She finds herself running into him with great annoyance and their personalities clashing. But this flesh and blood man turns out to be an exciting prospect himself and along with other suitors, she finds her world getting complicated.
The mystery part of the story involves theft and intrigue and throughout Emily is subjected to some harrowing situations. She has to find out who is behind stolen artifacts that connect to Phillip and the British Museum. The answer is both frightening and close to home. She begins to wonder if her adoration of Phillip was misplaced and if she can trust anyone close to her.
This story started out strong. I enjoyed Alexander's writing and it felt like she was giving me a lesson in art, history, and Victorian manners, along with a mystery to solve. It is clear she is knowledgeable in Greek art history and she did a solid job of dialogue and character interaction for the time. Unfortunately, I can only give it three stars because halfway through I really started to lose interest in the mystery part. It felt more like a romance novel with a background puzzle thrown in. I began to feel there wasn't enough mystery there to keep things suspenseful and the villain was just not well hidden to the end. A solid effort to be sure, especially for a first novel, but not a five star book for me.
I am interested in her upcoming book and will probably try it. The plot intrigues me because it is a Lady Emily mystery set in the Scottish Highlands. Hopefully it will be exciting!