Title: The Adventuress (Lady Emily 10)
Author: Tasha Alexander
Publisher: Minotaur Press
Publication Date: 2015
The French Riviera is an idyllic place for romance, and Colin and Emily are there to celebrate the engagement of one of Emily’s oldest friends, Jeremy, Duke of Banbridge. His fiancé is Amity Wells, an American heiress who was in India with her parents as her father conducted business. There she met Christabel Peabody and Jeremy’s brother, Captain Jack Sheffield. As the younger son, Jack has dedicated his life to the army and serves as an entertaining and knowledgeable guide to the young ladies. Christabel is in India visiting her brother; her friendship with Amity blossoms into a true bond. As the friends develop fellowship, Amity shares her struggles as the daughter of a wealthy southern gentleman who built his fortune in copper following the War Between the States, and his fiercely determined wife who is intent on seeing her only child wed to an English nobleman. When Amity meets Jack’s older brother Jeremy, their two adventurous and slightly unconventional personalities seem to be a perfect match.
In an effort to outdo the American nouveau riche like the Vanderbilts and to give her daughter the most spectacular of weddings, Amity’s mother organizes a lavish engagement celebration in Cannes for her daughter, her fiancé, and their closest friends. Emily is cautious about Jeremy’s impending nuptials; as life-long friends, she truly wants what will make Jeremy most happy. Growing up on neighboring estates, Jeremy and Emily were childhood friends and at one point it was thought that they would marry. Instead, they developed a link of camaraderie and mutual respect. Why then is Emily so uncomfortable about the engagement and Jeremy’s intended? Events occur that suggest the Emily is jealous, and that Jeremy’s marriage will end Jeremy’s platonic devotion to her. Emily begins to question her own motivations and innermost feelings, and even her closest friends start to show some threads of doubt.
When Chauncey Neville, a member of their celebratory party and a longtime friend of Jeremy’s, is found dead of an apparent suicide, the festivities are cut short. A seemingly happy and jovial man, suicide is very uncharacteristic of Chauncey. Emily is dissatisfied with the coroner’s report and begins to investigate. As questions and reservations begin to creep into the minds of the group, concerns of trust and safety become paramount. Will tragedy and heartache prevent Amity and Jeremy from beginning their lives together?
Tasha Alexander is one of my top five most favorite historical mystery writers and her tenth installment of the Lady Emily series does not disappoint. I’m going a little fan girl here, but I won an advanced reading copy of this book!! She even wrote me a little note!! Squeak!! The book is set for wide-release tomorrow, October 13.
My most favorite thing about this series is the character of Lady Emily. She is confident, intelligent, and assertive, and yet follows the social mores and expectations of her time period. I find her very believable in that she isn’t really frustrated with her placement in society, but rather accepts her role because it is what it is. Now, she is of the upper crust and has connections to the Queen, but she is truly a woman of her time.
Emily’s husband, Colin Hargreaves, is an inquiry agent for the Queen and crown. Emily’s involvement in his investigations and her own follows a believable and realistic pattern. Her inquiries are melded with her social and societal obligations. There is a seamless blending of the two roles that adds to the credibility of the story.
The novel took a slight departure from previous stories in that it seemed to be more of a psychological thriller than a mystery. I was constantly questioning who I believed and who I trusted; much in the same way that Emily experiences her own self-doubt. The French Riviera setting provided a beautiful backdrop to the story but wasn’t as integrated into the mystery itself as is often seen in the Lady Emily books, and I enjoyed this departure.
Tasha Alexander has a great voice in her writing. I really enjoyed that the story was told by both Emily and Amity, using different starting points for each of their narratives. As their story-telling caught up to the same point in time, the tension and excitement of the story built as well. It was really interesting to see the evolution of the two viewpoints.
Who might like this book:
If you like English historical mysteries, you will enjoy the Lady Emily series. The author has done an amazing amount of research and does a fabulous job at blending the atmosphere into the story. Her characters are delightful; it is so much fun to see the reoccurring characters of Jeremy, Margaret, and Cecile develop and grown as individuals but it is just as fascinating to see their perspectives and interpretations woven into the plot.
Tasha Alexander’s biography indicates that she was an English major “in order to have a legitimate excuse for spending all her time reading.” How brilliant is that! Make sure that you read her series in order. You will do a disservice to yourself if you miss any of the previous adventures. The stories in order are:
And Only to Deceive
A Poisoned Season
A Fatal Waltz
Tears of Pearl
Dangerous to Know
A Crimson Warning
Death in the Floating City
Behind the Shattered Glass
The Counterfeit Heiress