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on 18 May 2014
I've read her later ones and enjoyed them more. I'm ploughing through this one which is far too long. The story doesn't justify the endless repetitions of the thief sending the heroine missives in Greek and proving tediously elusive.

I am also increasingly infuriated by the Americanisms that would be out of place in a contemporary English novel, let alone one purporting to be set in Victorian high society. People simply wouldn't have talked about "figuring thing out", waiting until "the Fall", asking if they could "visit with" each other and worst of all calling an attendant in the British Museum a "docent"!

I'll probably finish it but only because I've got this far and want to know what happened but I am losing the will to live...
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on 30 January 2015
In my continuing efforts to try to get a bit of a mystery/romance series similar to the Lady Julia Grey Series, I've pressed onward with Lady Emily. But... let me tell you, these books are just not doing it for me. So, this may be my last read in this series for awhile. Who knows? I may change my mind. In this book, Emily has another mystery to solve related to the death of a gentleman - David Francis. But, the mysteries within this series are very complex to the point, one doesn't really care about who committed the crime. No, there's so much extraneous stuff going on, one gets caught up within the mysteries within the mystery.

For example, Lady Emily has a follower who keeps breaking into her home and leaving her nice little bits of jewelry, letters, notes, flowers and so forth. Is this person a villain? Not sure, because someone is definitely trying to do her harm. She also has a supposedly descendant of the Dauphin, Charles Berry, who is setting himself up to be the next Monarch of France and wants her to be his mistress - he's a total jerk. And, there's her sweet little friend, Isabelle, whose mama is setting Isabelle up to be the wife of this future wanna be King. Isabelle's in love with another man who just won't seem to step up to the plate even though Emily does her best to interfere and get them together.

Then Emily's good friend, Ivy, is having issues in her marriage with Robert. Again, Emily interferes to the best of her ability, but Emily has major difficulties of her own. It seems her reputation is in serious trouble because folks are accusing her of having a liaison with her long time friend, Jeremy Sheffield, Duke of Bainbridge, which of course isn't true. In fact she's set Jeremy and her friend Margaret up with a fake relationship so they can be free from the matchmakers during the social season. Emily's mother continues to drive Emily nuts, there's problems with Emily's staff - someone among her servants is being disloyal, Emily's trying to get a gentleman to donate a work of art to the museum, there's a very manipulative gent named Lord Fortesque, Queen Victoria's chief advisor who causes a bit of torment and so forth and so on.

So, there are many mysteries to solve. See, you've forgotten about the dead man haven't you - what was his name? Oh yes, David Francis. Well, that's because he's really easy to forget because next to all the other stuff going on, he just isn't all that important. In fact, the only reason he's important is his wife's maid will hang for his murder if it isn't all figured out and of course, I didn't want that. But, I didn't really care about David Francis - after all he was dead and there was just too much other stuff going on.

Oh, wait a minute - I forgot to mention our Main Guy, Colin Hargreaves, who continues to do his thing in service to the Crown, all the while refusing to even give Emily one single, solitary kiss - no sirree, lest he get carried away, you see, and treat her in a manner that wouldn't befit her ladyish standing. No kisses until she agrees to marry him.

**Spoiler** I hated it that Colin was hanging out with the Marlborough Crowd, along with Charles Berry, who was apparently continually talking with the other gents about how and why he wanted Lady Emily and his plans for her as his mistress - can you imagine the nasty comments? Colin listens to this garbage continually being dumped out and doesn't say or do anything about Berry's foul mouth, later explaining to Emily that he has a role to play during these meetings and of course he mustn't disrupt that role (he's a spy). There again, can't help comparing him to Nicholas Brisbane from the Lady Julia Grey books. Boy, oh boy, Nicholas would have taken care of Berry. Sorry, but I digress.

Anyway, I'm about to change this to a three star review here if I'm not careful. In fact, these books are better than a lot of others out there if you don't mind all the plotting within a plot. I thought I had a mind that could keep a fairly good grasp on all the maneuverings, but there's way too much going on here for me to truly enjoy the characters. I'm moving on - I understand Joanna Bourne has a new book in her Spymasters' series.
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on 22 May 2015
Every bit as good as the first book in the series, 'And Only to Deceive'. The characters were well-portrayed, mostly believable and likeable. The plot stretched my credibility a bit, but moved at such a pace that I got carried along and didn't think 'could that really have happened then?' until I was considering the plot as a whole after I'd finished reading the book. I was happy to suspend disbelief because Lady Emily is such an engaging character. The novel gives a good sense of how stultifying marriage must have been for women who found the social whirl unsatisfying and longed to stretch themselves intellectually. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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on 3 March 2014
I enjoyed the first book but found it dragged at times. This one is much better and kept me interested all the way through
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on 20 December 2015
An enjoyable story that moves on at a good pace. Slightly spoiled by lazy errors in the details. I doubt if Queen Victoria would have referred to autumn as the fall or that cross channel ships would have been called ferries in common speech. These might seem like little details but they really spoil the flow of the book.
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on 6 January 2014
This was different from my usual type of reading material, but I really enjoyed it and enjoyed the fantasies about smart London Society of the period. I shall certainly more by this author, but hope there won't be quite so many American spellings and grammatical differences, as I find them confusing at times.
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on 1 March 2010
Love the plot both the sentimental one with Colin and the main intrigue. I appreciate Emily's strong and educated character as well as her realistic view of the Victorian English society in which she evolves. The description of a London "season" is very well captured. I got so much taken with the story that i read it in one night!
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on 23 March 2011
This second book in the series lives up to the standard of the first. I can see these characters becoming real "friends" whose adventures I will continue to enjoy.
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on 28 August 2014
Very enjoyable and unusual. The principal character is a one-off. I had already read the book that follows on, which is why I ordered this one. I intend to read the one that precedes it now.
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on 11 December 2013
it got off to a bit of a slow start, but by the end I was hooked.

Thoroughly enjoyed it.
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