And Only to Deceive
by Tasha Alexander
Harper Collins 2006
I found a new author last week.
Tasha Alexander has created a wonderful central character - a strong woman who knows her own mind, who is educated and who does not accept all the traditions and rules that high society says she must.
Her name is Lady Emily Ashton and she lives in London England during the time of Queen Victoria.
In this book (the first in the series) Emily was under a great deal of pressure from her mother to marry a suitable man with a title. Emily herself is the daughter of an Earl. In order to get away from her mothers demands and interference, she agrees to marry Philip, Viscount Ashton. Philip's hobby is to go hunting in Africa. This he continues to do after the marriage and within 6 months, he is dead.
Lady Emily must go through 2 years of mourning. During this time she must wear nothing but BLACK for the first 12 months and then ONLY gray and muted colours during the second year of mourning. Emily uses this time to start reading the Greek classics in order to understand why her husband was interested in the classical era. Emily's mother does not put too much pressure on her daughter during the first year but in the second year, the pressure to get married again starts up again
Philip had a best friend. His name is Colin Hargreaves. He takes it upon himself to show Emily what her husband was like and why he was killed. It turns out that while philip was hunting in Africa, he ws also chasing down antiquities to save them and donate them to museums where they would be safe. Emily and Colin discover a ring of forgers who forged these antiquities in order to sell the real ones and replace them with false copies in the museums.
By the time Colin and Emily had discovered who the forgers are, they have also discovered that it was the forgers who killed Philip because he had discovered their activities.
I really enjoyed this novel. Emily's mother was extremely exasperating and very intrusive. There are now 4 books starring Lady Emily Ashton. I have read the second book - review up next - but have yet to find the last 2 books.