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Book: And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (Lady Emily #1)
Genre: Mystery / History / a little romance
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
Publication date: 2009 as an e-book, 2005 originally
Source: e-book borrowed from library
Summary: Lady Ashton, Emily, is a young widow who barely knew, much less loved, her husband. Philip, Viscount Ashton, was an adventurer who died while on safari in Africa. In the months after his death, Emily learns that Philip was also an art lover, particularly appreciative of Greek antiquities.
Emily quickly discovers a fascination in herself for ancient Greek culture, an intellectual pursuit that hadn’t been presented previously in her feminine education. Through this new passion, Emily kindles a love, and grief, for the husband she lost. As she learns more, a couple of mysteries develop, including one around the circumstances of Philip’s death.
Thoughts: And Only to Deceive explores the limits of Victorian womanhood through the experience of the widow who was, in some ways, more bounded, and, in many ways, more free. Emily uses her freedom to read Homer, learn ancient Greek, and to view the Greek antiquities on display at the British Museum and the Louvre.
Appeal: And Only to Deceive features elements of romance and mystery, but bends the genres in unconventional ways that might be unsatisfying if you’re in the mood for a good love story or case to solve. This is satisfying historical fiction, however, especially if you’re in the mood to visit the British Museum or the Louvre. With travel unlikely, novels and websites are good substitutes. The British Museum has virtual gallery tours using Google Street View.
And Only to Deceive is the first book in the Lady Emily series. Book #15 is scheduled to be published in 2021. Have you read farther in the series? Should I keep going?