Wow, it has been awhile since I’ve been inspired to write any book reviews. I’ve been reading new books (while also revisiting my favorites including The Montmaray Journals) but haven’t been able to put my thoughts about these books on paper. As my amazing sister has talked about, we lost our beloved Moppy in September 2018. Moppy was a big part of my reading life growing up. When Sarah and I were very invested in Harry Potter, Moppy went out and read the books as well. She loved to talk about books with us, and I loved to share what I was reading with her. So since I could not talk about what I was reading with her, I struggled to talk about it with anyone outside my immediate circle of people. But I’m ready to get back to sharing my thoughts with the book world about what I’ve been reading. To start, I’ve chosen the Lady Emily series, of which I read all 14 books in the past year. Many thanks are due to one of my best friends who picked up the twelfth book of the series because of its gorgeous cover and introduced us both to this series!
From the Back Cover of And Only to Deceive:
Emily agreed to wed Philip, the Viscount Ashton, primarily to escape her overbearing mother. Philip’s death while on safari soon after their wedding left Emily feeling little grief, for she barely knew the dashing stranger. But her discovery of his journals nearly two years later reveals a far different man than she imagined – a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who apparently loved his new wife deeply. Emily’s desire to learn more of her late husband leads her through the quiet corners of the British Museum and into a dangerous mystery involving rare stolen artifacts. To complicate matters, she’s juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond matrimony into darker realms…
I have never had an intense love of “who done it?” novels that my mom and late Poppy do. I’ve watched crime shows since I was a kid but that had never translated over to my book choices. Enter the delight that is Lady Emily and her dashing husband, Colin Hargreaves and I was hooked. Thus far, the books have spanned the last decade of the 19th century, and while Lady Emily lives primarily in London, her newfound desire to engage in detective work takes her all over Europe, to Vienna, Paris, Santorini, St. Petersburg, Venice, Pompeii, and more.
Each novel stands on its own in terms of the murder(s) in need of solving and can therefore be read out of order (I personally read the 9th, 12th, and 11th ones before reading the first one) although I would recommend reading at least the first four books before others and in order. While these books are primarily murder mysteries, they also spend time on the characters, their relatinships, and the personal aspects of their lives. So, if you are looking for straight up detective novels, these are not for you. If you want some wonderful Victorian sass and a colorful cast of characters in addition to murder, then these are absolutely the books for you.
The books are told from Lady Emily’s first person perspective and each book includes at least one of her delightful friends whether it be Cecile du Lac, the older, fashionable French woman, Jeremy, Duke of Bainbridge who has been Emily’s closest friend since childhood, Margaret, the first of Emily’s friends to encourage her studies of the ancients, or Ivy, Emily’s best friend who is firmly entrenched in English society. All of them are entertaining and wonderful additions to the novels in which they appear.
Overall, the Lady Emily series is one that I would recommend to everyone. Having sometimes faced reading slumps or where I cannot focus on a book, I have never had that problem with these and flew through the entire series quickly. And in these uncertain times of the pandemic, I packed up the entire series to bring with me to my Mom’s house where I am self-isolating and rereading this series to keep my spirits up.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent bookstore, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.