Customer Reviews for

And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A perfect book to disappear into

In addition to being a chocoholic I am also - let's face it - a bookaholic. Purchasing Tasha Alexander's "And Only to Deceive" and Tracy Grant's "Secrets of a Lady" was completely and utterly compulsory. I admit it. I don't even have the decency to feel bad about it. Wh...
In addition to being a chocoholic I am also - let's face it - a bookaholic. Purchasing Tasha Alexander's "And Only to Deceive" and Tracy Grant's "Secrets of a Lady" was completely and utterly compulsory. I admit it. I don't even have the decency to feel bad about it. When the books came in I went through a few agonizing moments, trying to decide which one to read first. As a true statistician, I resorted to a coin toss. Tasha won.

Just to give you an idea: the evening I started reading the book came after two grueling weeks of constant fire-fighting at work (even the statistical nerds get job crises), a day of back-to-back meetings and an hour-long drive home (this was my one-per-week office day, but trust me - one is enough). My husband was watching something violent, with shooting, explosions and hostages - I didn't care... It's been a long time since I disappeared into a book like that, and I relished every moment of it.

Tasha Alexander may not be the right author and Lady Emily Ashton - the right character for you. I can only wish that you find one that resonates as well with your personality as "And Only to Deceive" had resonated with mine.

posted by MariaIK on April 12, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Starts out strong, becomes illogical and unbelievable.

I enjoy stories about the regency and victorian periods in England and this story had a very strong beginning, protraying a young widow who matured after her husband's death, and whose character and independent spirit came out strongly although somewhat unorthodox behav...
I enjoy stories about the regency and victorian periods in England and this story had a very strong beginning, protraying a young widow who matured after her husband's death, and whose character and independent spirit came out strongly although somewhat unorthodox behavior for Victorian society. The unbelievable last 2/3 of the book was that after she had belatedly fallen in love with her deceased husband, discovering him to be a worthwhile person she had barely known, she then DOUBTS him based on unsubstantiated tales from his 'friends' and then BELIEVES any flimsy story that he might still be ALIVE. This is totally illogical with the first third of the book. In addition, her instant 'maturity' after only 6 months of marriage and widowhood, having lived her whole life with her parents is also somewhat unbelievable. Suddenly she knows her own mind extremely well, she moves in society she was barely introduced to, manages servants and a house, knows fashion, and she decides to live in Paris, where she is an instant social success. Just a little too much to swallow.......

posted by Anonymous on February 27, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2007

    Starts out strong, becomes illogical and unbelievable.

    I enjoy stories about the regency and victorian periods in England and this story had a very strong beginning, protraying a young widow who matured after her husband's death, and whose character and independent spirit came out strongly although somewhat unorthodox behavior for Victorian society. The unbelievable last 2/3 of the book was that after she had belatedly fallen in love with her deceased husband, discovering him to be a worthwhile person she had barely known, she then DOUBTS him based on unsubstantiated tales from his 'friends' and then BELIEVES any flimsy story that he might still be ALIVE. This is totally illogical with the first third of the book. In addition, her instant 'maturity' after only 6 months of marriage and widowhood, having lived her whole life with her parents is also somewhat unbelievable. Suddenly she knows her own mind extremely well, she moves in society she was barely introduced to, manages servants and a house, knows fashion, and she decides to live in Paris, where she is an instant social success. Just a little too much to swallow.......

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Angieville: AND ONLY TO DECEIVE

    I must confess. I feel a little bad about my relationship with Lady Emily Ashton. I came across her adventures in the wake of Lady Julia Grey's escapades and I fear I won't be able to do Emily justice, that she will always be overshadowed by Julia. And, um, Brisbane. Do not mistake me. I like Colin Hargreaves very much. He is a delight and I hope Emily never throws him over. But he's not....well. He's not Brisbane. There. I've said it. We can move on. If you haven't guessed by now, AND ONLY TO DECEIVE is the first in Tasha Alexander's series of Victorian mysteries featuring Lady Emily Ashton. A series that has a fair bit in common with Deanna Raybourn's Julia Grey novels.

    Emily, like Julia, is made a young and rather sudden widow at the start of the story. The thing is, she never much cared for poor, dead Philip. He was simply a way of escaping her overbearing mother. To the cynical Emily, he represented the lesser of all the evils courting her. After his death, however, Emily is shocked to discover her husband was wildly, irrevocably in love with her and she had no idea. Through his journals, letters, and stories told by his closest friends, she comes to know and love her late husband. As she embarks on a study of ancient Greek language and sculpture (in memory of Philip who was something of an afficionado), Emily becomes involved in a ring of forgeries leading back to Philip and his friends. It seems she has a few more things left to learn about the man she married.

    The best thing about AND ONLY TO DECEIVE is the wonderful immersion in all things Greek. I was instantly taken back to my history of civ classes and what a wonderful experience I had reading THE ILIAD for the first time. Emily, too, had the good sense to prefer Hector to Achilles. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Emily fall in love with her husband and struggle with the fact of coming to know him secondhand and all too late. I loved the way she embraced the life of the scholar as a tribute to him and how she tried to move on despite the ever-constricting mourning requirements imposed on all sides. Unfortunately, her loyal love for her husband soon becomes a bit ridiculous as it is clear he is dead and was not, perhaps, the capital fellow his friends made him out to be. Emily also suffers a few TSTL moments with regards to the merits of her two suitors as well as her endeavors to unmask the villain. As a result, I grew a bit impatient on the whole. Not enough to deter me from the next installment, as I did enjoy many things about this light and charming mystery. Here's hoping things pick up a bit in the next one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Upscale Version of an Old Standby

    Though well-written, this is basically a Regency romance, usually found in the paperback section of the library. A suspenseful twist makes it a bit more interesting. Otherwise all the genre's stock characters make their inevitable appearances: the beautiful and clever heroine, the pushy society mother, the loyal best friend, the unsavory suitor, and of course, the dashingly handsome gentleman in hot pursuit of the lady's charms. The heroine is lauded for her independence and intellectual pursuits. Blissfully ignored is how much easier this is when one has vast wealth, stately homes, endless leisure time, and platoons of servants at one's disposal. Comparing the author to Jane Austen as book-cover critics did is a bit premature. Though the author captures the cadences of the writing of the day, nowhere is there evidence of the complex depths of character Ms. Austin explored, nor the moody and haunting atmospherics. This is pretty much standard fare, and lots of fun if you enjoy descriptions of how the super-rich lived in 19th-century London and Paris.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    And Only to Deceive did not capture my interest.

    Tasha Alexander clearly is a capable author but her characters did not captivate me and the story never felt alive to me. Because I love the genre and had high expecations of the author (based on the reviews printed on her books) I bought two other books she's written. I may not read them.

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