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.)
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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 the Hardcover edition.