Diamonds & Deceit (At Somerton)

( 4 )


A house divided...

London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can't help but still feel a servant, dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then she meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. She has heard the rumors about Ross's sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better...

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Diamonds & Deceit (At Somerton)

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A house divided...

London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can't help but still feel a servant, dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then she meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. She has heard the rumors about Ross's sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late.

Ada is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Her father's heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys' reputation.

Meanwhile, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him—for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.

The colorful cast of the At Somerton series returns in this enthralling sequel about class and fortune, trust and betrayal, love and revenge.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Mary Ann Darby
The London Season in 1913 is in full swing, and the women of Somerton are in attendance. Rose, still struggling with her transition from housemaid to being the second daughter of the Earl of Westlake, is intrigued by the roguish Duke of Huntleigh. Her sister, Ada, is newly engaged to Lord Fintan but is secretly struggling with memories of the magical moments she shared with Ravi. Ada knows her family needs the financial stability her union with Fintan would bring, but Fintan seems to be dallying with her sister Charlotte. Sebastian is still digging to find helpful background on his former valet, Oliver, who is on trial for a murder that he did not commit, while Michael is serious about pursuing a relationship with nursemaid Priya. And if the upstairs intrigues are not enough, downstairs there are conflicts as Annie becomes discontent with her role, Mrs. Cliffe is replaced with a woman of iron will, and Celine seems to have ulterior motives for her work with Rose. Welcome back to a young-adult version of Downton Abbey. This Somerton tale resumes where the first volume, Cinders And Sapphires (Hyperion, 2013/Voya December 2012), left off. Fans of the first book will be more than happy to dive into this continuation of the pre-World War I soap opera that involves lords, ladies, and servants alike. The only stumbling block for some readers might be the French-derived fashion terms, but the story moves at a quick pace from start to finish and is sure to keep readers of this genre fully engaged. Junior and senior high librarians will want to add this to the Somerton series, which promises to continue after this one. Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—The intrigue continues in this addition to the series. The Averleys are in London for "the Season," a ceaseless parade of parties and events designed to foster advantageous family alliances. Having failed to secure a suitable match in her first two seasons, Charlotte is determined to snare a husband this summer but is unwilling to let go of Lord Fintan, Ada's betrothed, and he seems unable to resist her advances. Ada is keenly aware that becoming Lady Fintan will save her family from the financial ruin wrought by her brother William's gambling debts. She is fond of Lord Fintan and believes she has resigned herself to give up her love for Ravi. Rose is still trying to adjust to her new position as the recognized daughter of Lord Westlake but cannot escape her past as a lady's maid. She is unwittingly drawn into a relationship with the heir to one of the wealthiest families in England, completely unaware of his playboy reputation. Michael returns to Eton so that he will be better able to provide for Priya. William takes advantage of his absence to take unwanted liberties with her. Meanwhile, Sebastian continues his desperate search for a solution to Oliver's imprisonment. Despite the multitude of characters, Rasheed does an admirable job of keeping each of their stories enticing, steadily bringing each situation to a soap-opera-worthy cliffhanger. While there are a few satisfying resolutions, enough remains unsettled to keep fans anxiously awaiting the next installment.—Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA
Kirkus Reviews
More scheming servants and conniving debutantes at Somerton. On the eve of World War I, technology and shifting social mores are eroding the fabric of London society as the pace of life accelerates. In the second installment of this soapy series, the focus shifts to Lady Ada's secret half sister, Rose, who was raised as a housemaid at Somerton and elevated to a member of the family at the conclusion of Cinders & Sapphires (2013). As Rose attempts to navigate her first London season as a participant instead of a supporting player, she is confounded at every turn by malicious rivals and conflicting messages about her role in the evolving societal landscape. Gossip (and the fear of it) is the driving force at the heart of the story. Although there is some mustache-twirling villainy--and brutal consequences for aristocratic license--most of Rasheed's characters are satisfyingly complex and flawed. With a few notable exceptions, no one is all good or all bad, leaving plenty of room for outlandish plot twists and changes of heart. Deft descriptions embroider the subplots that provide the historical context and intrigue--the trains of London's Underground Railway roar "like an imprisoned dragon"--and the anxiety of the age is leavened somewhat by humorous touches. Add this to the list of recommended reading for Downton Abbey enthusiasts. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423171188
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Series: At Somerton Series
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 409,296
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Leila Rasheed is the British author of a middle grade novel, Chips, Beans and Limousines, and its sequels. She was previously a children's bookseller in Brussels, but now writes and teaches creative writing full time.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Love love love

    At first i was put off by all the chapters but i ended up completly head over heels! I love its realistic quality and scandles!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    I didn't read the first book of the series, so I will admit that

    I didn't read the first book of the series, so I will admit that I was a little confused when I first picked the book up. After a few pages I was drawn in and couldn't put my iPad down. Diamonds and Deceit was an easy read and unfortunately only took me about a day to finish.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick read full of fame, fortune, romance and scandal.  

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  • Posted January 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I really enjoyed the first book in the series. I'm not as fami

    I really enjoyed the first book in the series. I'm not as familiar with this time period in England, so I like immersing myself in new details. This series seems to have just enough scandal, intrigue, aristocracy, beautiful dresses, and romance. However, this book seemed a little dragged down by the details. The end almost made up for all that though.

    My first problem lies with the fact that there are a lot of characters in this book, plus two separate locations. It hasn't been that long since I read the first one, but I really had to set myself straight on who was who. I couldn't remember who were the actually related, who were stepchildren, and how all the other characters fit together at first. I eventually figured it out, but I think the book could have benefited from some little refresher. There was also a lot of scenes that didn't really seem to move the story forward that much. Scenes at various balls, dress shops, etc just seemed to fill the pages. Some of them had little details that I enjoyed that connected the story together, but overall were not important.

    I did enjoy Rose's Season debut. I can't imagine going from servant to debutante and having to endure the whispers, etc. Perhaps that's why she occasionally acted like she did around Alexander. I think she was so use to defending herself that she forgot that things are always what they appear and sometimes words spoken aren't what was meant. I forgave her though, because it didn't take her long to realize her errors.

    The other characters definitely had their ups and downs. I think Ada could have been happy with Lord Fintan, but fate would have things play out differently. Sebastian and Oliver have a long road ahead of them, so I'm hoping this isn't the last story. This family is finally starting to function as a unit and I'm excited to see what the future holds for all of them!

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  • Posted January 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    An Edwardian era YA romance, this story is as engaging and capti

    An Edwardian era YA romance, this story is as engaging and captivating as the sagas of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs from the BBC.  Set just before the onset of WWI, Leila Rasheed introduces us to a cast of characters, each uniquely poised to present their perspective on London society, marriage, happiness, trust, love and betrayal.   I did not read the first in this series, a lack of exposure I am happy to report will be resolved shortly, but this novel did standalone perfectly well and I found no gaps in my understanding of the story. 

    Several characters are introduced throughout the story, some stay longer than others, and some impact the events and outcomes for better or worse.  With a curious mix of points of view and voices from each character contributing to the plot and flow, the story feels overwhelming at first, but quickly the unique voices and solid personalities of the characters becomes evident and sorts them out clearly in the reader’s mind.  

    Most of the younger women in this story are caught in the crossroads: their older mama’s and papa’s are raising them to be the coddled and cosseted decorations for their husband’s arms.  But, times are changing; women are asking for the vote and more personal freedoms, the age of the big houses and society’s stranglehold on the economy of England are starting to wane.  War is imminent, even as most of the characters are unaware of the rumblings in Europe, and the younger members in the service staff for the house have more opportunities are available than even a year or two before.  Society and technology are changing, and members of society need change too. 

    But, from the whirl of balls and debuts, even the ‘right’ connections isn’t always enough to guarantee a smooth entrance in society.  Rose’s father, a Lord, has finally adopted her and she is ready to present in society.  A harder early life, she can’t help but see the duplicitous behaviour above and below stairs regarding her appearance.  While men were far more able to withstand the pressures of societal constraint, they too could damage a young woman’s reputation.  Unfortunately, adding to Rose’s difficulties with the gossips and others of the ton, her friendship with Alexander, a reputed rake with a name tainted by scandal.   Add to this another character who is engaged to a solid man, but not in love, yet needing the alliance to save her family from the poorhouse.  Mix in a servant wrongly accused of a murder done by his master who happens to be the man who loves him, and a reporter that is coming all too close to that scandalous truth and the fun just never ends in this story.  

    This is a wonderful story to introduce a teen reader to the joys of historic romance, with both language and sexual content leaning to the sweeter side, as befits the era in which the story is set.  Several characters fall into the ‘love them or hate them’ categories, and there are enough moments and twists to keep a reader engaged as they follow the story to the end.  Descriptions are lush and precise, and the feel of the early 20th century is solid and visceral for all readers.   A completely solid series with, I hope, yet more to come. 

    I received an eBook copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  

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