Monday, July 21, 2008

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

This novel is very similar to the previous one I blogged about, Silent in the Grave. As in Silent, And Only to Deceive centers on a young widow in the Victorian era who comes to believe that her husband was murdered. Lady Emily Ashton never really knew her husband, as he died in Africa several months after they were married. He was a great art collector, especially of Greek antiquities, and in an effort to know him better Emily develops an interest in and passion for art and literature (she reads The Iliad and takes ancient Greek lessons). Through her new art-world connections she begins to suspect that her husband was involved in something shady and with the help of her friends Cecile, Margaret and Ivy and of her love interest Colin Hargreaves, she gets to the bottom of the mystery. Was her husband really an art thief and involved in forgery? Or was he the victim of a forgery ring that spanned countries and classes? I really liked this mystery and I loved the art aspect of it. It stimulated my interest in Greek art and literature and I will definitely be reading the second book in the series, A Poisoned Season.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

As this wonderful novel opens, Lady Julia Grey witnesses her husband's demise and becomes a young widow. After his death she is bound by the strictures of widowhood in the Victorian era and lives a quiet and undemanding life. Until she meets Nicholas Brisbane, a private inquiry agent who had been hired by her husband to investigate a series of death threats he received before he died. Convinced that her husband was murdered she hires Brisbane to help her discover the murderer. Of course Brisbane is a dark and mysterious man who she can't help but be attracted to. Misunderstandings and arguments ensue, making their relationship intriguing and infuriating for both of them. With the help of her large and eccentric family, Lady Julia navigates society and the disappointment of her marriage with wit, dignity and elegance. I really enjoyed this mystery/romance/historical novel and am already devouring the second book in the series. On a side note, I also very much enjoy Deanna Raybourn's blog. Check it out; it is just as satisfying as her novels.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Forgot to Post

I did finish a book last month. I read The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald for my genre study at work. We were concentrating on gentle fiction. The Bookshop is the story of Florence Green, a widow who lives in a small village on the north coast of England. She has no friends in town and is without children. Looking for some way to spend her time and talents she purchases an old building and opens a bookshop, the first ever in the village. She has opposition on many fronts and is not completely successful. This is a quiet and subtle read. The humor is very subdued and it is not really a "feel-good" book at all, but it works it's way under your skin and had me thinking about it for several days after I finished. I'm not sure I would recommend this to very many people because it isn't fast-paced or happy, but some readers may recognize its beauty.