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And Only To Deceive [Paperback]

Tasha Alexander
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2006 Lady Emily

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.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this charming late Victorian romantic suspense novel, Emily, a young and beautiful widow, regrets her husband's African hunting expedition death less than is proper. The late Philip, Viscount Ashton, had a passion for classical antiquity, and Emily, in an attempt to get to know her husband postmortem, uses her newfound independence in London to study it. In the process, she forms a friendship with Cecile du Lac, a Parisian of a certain age, and realizes that there was more to Philip than she realized—including his genuine passion and love for her. The charming Colin Hargreaves may have been involved with Philip in art forgeries, and Andrew Palmer proposes to Emily and then offers evidence that Philip is still alive. By this time, Emily and Cecile are a well-practiced team of amateur sleuths: Phillip's secrets begin to emerge, and travel to Greece provides the possibilities of a new life. Alexander makes Emily light but sympathetic, and conveys period flavor without being ponderous. Her knowledge of the ethical dilemmas posed by Victorian etiquette is considerable; sexual chemistry in particular is handled with exquisite delicacy. The archeological background will lure readers who like to dig for their clues. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Emily Bromley, a Victorian beauty, doesn't really want to marry, but her mother's persistent pressure forces her to accept wealthy Viscount Philip Ashton's proposal. When Philip dies on safari in Africa a few months after the wedding, Emily feels relief more than grief. Now the wealthy widow of a man she hardly knew, she is free to pursue her heart's real passion--reading! Yet once Emily begins to hear stories about Philip's interest in Greek literature and his exquisite collection of antiquities, Emily begins to feel herself falling in love with her mysterious, now-dead husband. But the more she discovers about Philip's extraordinary life, the more she fears that his death may not have been an accident. Compounding her concern are some very mixed messages from Philip's two best friends and the mounting evidence that he may have engaged in some backdoor business dealings. Who can Emily trust? This engaging, witty mix of Victorian cozy and suspense thriller draws its dramatic spark from the endearingly headstrong heroine's growth in life and love. A memorable debut. Misha Stone
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining June 14 2010
I found this book totally by chance at a second hand book stand. I became totally immersed in the story and proceeded to buy the second one, which I also really enjoyed - am now planning to buy the third book in the series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  224 reviews
74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it -- Read it! Oct. 26 2005
By L. J. Roberts - Published on
I started this one evening and could not go to bed until I had finished it. It is the perfect blend of Victorian sociology, art history, romance and mystery. The characters are strong and well-drawn; intelligent, independent Emily, her friend Ivy, domineering mother, vapid acquaintances, grand dame Cecil du Lac, the butler Davis and maid Meg, painter Renoir, two handsome suitors, her late husband Philip, and the list goes on. But rather than feeling overwhelmed by the number of characters, each is so distinct, they make a strong contribution to the story and the growth and character of Emily. You want to personally know these characters, to study Greek antiquities and re-read the Iliad. The romance is appropriate to the period and the mystery compelling. I loved this book and I anxiously await Ms. Alexander's next book.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art theft, Greek mythology and Victorian women combine to make a good book April 25 2007
By Lilly Flora - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's a reviewer quote on the back of this book that says something to the effect of if Jane Austen had written the Da Vinci code it would have come out like this novel. I only noticed this quote when I was halfway through the book but seeing it made me smile because one of the first things I noticed about this book is that the characters sound exactly like the people in a movie version of one Jane Austen's books-but not like the people in the books themselves. They're too cynical and not polite enough for that. Anyway, this author's voice is enjoyable to read because of the familiar similarity to some of my favorite movies and the added sarcasm makes parts of it a hoot.

This book contains three of my favorite things to read about, though I didn't know it at the time I first bought this novel which made this book a delightful surprise. These things are: Greek mythology, intrigue/crime and love in Victorian England. This is the story of Emily Ashton, whose recent husband Phillip Ashton has just died on a safari in Africa. This doesn't bother her much because she only really married him to get away from her mother and didn't know him well enough to morn him in any way. His death leaves her wealthy, but with two years of mourning to get through; she has a great deal of time on her hands.

So she spends this time learning all about one of Phillip's main interests, the story of the battle of Troy in the Iliad, by Homer and Greek antiques. Most of Phillips finds were donated to the British museum and as Emily studied and learns more about her late husband and his world she learns through his journals how much he loved her and she begins to fall in love with her dead husband (tragic really.) At the same time two men appear on the horizon, both friends of Phillips, Colin and Andrew competing for her affection.

But Emily is discovering that some of the pieces in the British museum, pieces donated by her now beloved dead husband, are forgeries, and Phillip may have been a thief. Even worse, Colin or Andrew may be involved in these thefts. And then come the news that Phillip may still be alive....

This was a good book. As I said previously I really enjoyed the authors writing style and the dialog was all very cute (if you've seen "Emma" you'll just hear the words in your head.) Emily is a great heroine, she's smart, has actual self esteem for a women of her time and real ideas about how women should function in society, and the whole falling in love with a dead person thing is just a wonderful literary device because it makes for an unspeakable tragic situation-always mourning the time you lost with a person you now love. Aside from that the book is romantic, suspenseful and just all around good.

But it doesn't have that special spark that makes a book great, so, four stars.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down! Oct. 18 2005
By Miz Turi - Published on
I love to read, but when it comes to mysteries I only read really good ones. I learned about Tasha Alexander's book from a list I'm on, and went to her website to read the first chapter. It was so delightful, I decided I'd splurge and buy the hardback. I'm totally glad I did. When I got the book, I couldn't put it down; I read it from cover to cover. Ms. Alexander has created a wonderful world filled with the most charming, fascinating people.

This is one book I know I'm going to re-read. Some of the other reviews say Ms. Alexander is going to write a sequel, I sure hope they're right.

(I like Elizabeth Peters, Anne Perry, and Elizabeth George.)
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angieville: AND ONLY TO DECEIVE March 24 2009
By Angela Thompson - Published on
I must confess. I feel a little bad about my relationship with Lady Emily Ashton. I came across her adventures in the wake of Lady Julia Grey's escapades and I fear I won't be able to do Emily justice, that she will always be overshadowed by Julia. And, um, Brisbane. Do not mistake me. I like Colin Hargreaves very much. He is a delight and I hope Emily never throws him over. But he's not....well. He's not Brisbane. There. I've said it. We can move on. If you haven't guessed by now, AND ONLY TO DECEIVE is the first in Tasha Alexander's series of Victorian mysteries featuring Lady Emily Ashton. A series that has a fair bit in common with Deanna Raybourn's Julia Grey novels.

Emily, like Julia, is made a young and rather sudden widow at the start of the story. The thing is, she never much cared for poor, dead Philip. He was simply a way of escaping her overbearing mother. To the cynical Emily, he represented the lesser of all the evils courting her. After his death, however, Emily is shocked to discover her husband was wildly, irrevocably in love with her and she had no idea. Through his journals, letters, and stories told by his closest friends, she comes to know and love her late husband. As she embarks on a study of ancient Greek language and sculpture (in memory of Philip who was something of an afficionado), Emily becomes involved in a ring of forgeries leading back to Philip and his friends. It seems she has a few more things left to learn about the man she married.

The best thing about AND ONLY TO DECEIVE is the wonderful immersion in all things Greek. I was instantly taken back to my history of civ classes and what a wonderful experience I had reading The Iliad (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) for the first time. Emily, too, had the good sense to prefer Hector to Achilles. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Emily fall in love with her husband and struggle with the fact of coming to know him secondhand and all too late. I loved the way she embraced the life of the scholar as a tribute to him and how she tried to move on despite the ever-constricting mourning requirements imposed on all sides. Unfortunately, her loyal love for her husband soon becomes a bit ridiculous as it is clear he is dead and was not, perhaps, the capital fellow his friends made him out to be. Emily also suffers a few TSTL moments with regards to the merits of her two suitors as well as her endeavors to unmask the villain. As a result, I grew a bit impatient on the whole. Not enough to deter me from the next installment, as I did enjoy many things about this light and charming mystery. Here's hoping things pick up a bit in the next one.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful Nov. 11 2005
By Likha - Published on
Reviewers cannot write enough about Emily, Ms. Alexander's heroine, and rightfully so. If only for the characters, this book is worth reading. But this book offers so much more--a wonderful balance of mystery, history, arts, and romance, all wrapped in beautiful and intelligent prose. I'm ordering more copies for my friends and family!
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