London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy is atwitter over a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Adding to their fascination with all things French, an audacious cat burglar is systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill-fated queen.Read more...
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London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy is atwitter over a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Adding to their fascination with all things French, an audacious cat burglar is systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill-fated queen.
But things take a dark turn. The owner of one of the pilfered treasures is found murdered after the theft is reported in the newspapers, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with Lady Emily Ashton. It takes all of Lady Emily's wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret out the murderer, while faced with a brewing scandal that threatens both her reputation and her romance with the dashing Colin Hargreaves.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 57.
- Review Date: 2007-02-26
- Reviewer: Staff
When Lady Emily Ashton, an unconventional young widow, comes to London for the social season at the start of Alexander's highly enjoyable late Victorian novel of suspense (the sequel to And Only to Deceive), a presumptive heir to the French throne and a slew of robberies by a thief obsessed with Marie Antoinette soon become the talk of the town. The stakes rise after the murder of one of the thief's victims. As Emily risks her reputation to solve the crimes, she must contend with a mysterious beau, who woos her in Greek. The author deftly works in background material pertinent to Emily's life as well as period detail that never slows the narrative. Emily sometimes behaves in unlikely ways (e.g., visiting a man at his bachelor residence, getting on a first-name basis with a woman after a brief acquaintance), but readers looking for a lighter version of Anne Perry will be well rewarded. (Apr.)
Intrigue in the Victorian age
Lady Emily Ashton is thrilled to finally be out of mourning for her late husband Philip and enjoying the social season in Victorian London. The brainy, headstrong beauty has developed a keen interest in Greek artifacts and passes many enjoyable hours educating herself at the British Museum.
But Emily's orderly life is disrupted when a new face among the aristocracy, a rather odd man who claims to be the direct descendant of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, becomes a suitor. Then a mysterious cat burglar begins stealing precious gems that once belonged to the French queen. Murder soon follows and Emily is forced to face the realization that the daring thief is stalking her.
A more pleasant challenge for Emily is the ardent pursuit of her husband's best friend, the dashing Colin Hargreaves. Emily is intensely interested in Colin but also enjoys her freedom and all the attention that comes with being a beautiful and wealthy young widow. Perhaps Emily's biggest challenge is her domineering mother, who believes that her daughter should be focusing her energies on finding a new husbandpreferably a titled oneand has even enlisted the queen's help in convincing Emily to wed.
In A Poisoned Season, author Tasha Alexander continues the adventures begun in her debut novel, And Only to Deceive. Emily, who is at times arrogant, yet somehow sympathetic, and the large cast of characters (both above- and below-stairs) give fascinating insights into the society of the late 19th century.
Unfolding at a leisurely pace, A Poisoned Season draws the reader into the glittering Victorian age with its society balls, Worth gowns, hansom cabs and proper manners. Throw in a complex mystery with several intriguing twists and you have the ingredients for a charming historical cozy with a clever heroine readers won't soon forget.
Dedra Anderson writes from Highlands Ranch, Colorado.