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REVIEW: A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

Dear Ms Alexander,

A Poisoned SeasonI was delighted with my impulse buy of your first novel “And Only to Deceive.” Luckily for me I didn’t have to wait too long before book two in the series was released. Now all I can say is write quickly so I don’t have to mope too long before getting to read more about Lady Emily Ashton and her beau Colin Hargreaves.

London’s social season is in full swing, and the Victorian aristocracy can’t stop whispering about a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. But he’s not the only topic of wagging tongues. Drawing rooms, boudoirs, and ballrooms are abuzz with the latest news of an audacious cat burglar who has been making off with precious items that once belonged to the ill-fated queen.

Light gossip turns serious when the owner of one of the pilfered treasures is found murdered, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with Emily. But the strong-minded and fiercely independent Emily will not be shaken. It will take all of her considerable wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret out the murderer, even as a brewing scandal threatens both her reputation and her romance with her late husband’s best friend, the dashing Colin Hargreaves.

It makes sense to me that Emily would still stumble a little in her investigation, have trouble fitting pieces together, would need some assistance with code breaking and yet I can see that she’s learned from her previous adventures. She still needs Colin to look over her shoulder every now and then but she’s progressing nicely.

How did the mysterious admirer always manage to get away? There are police around Em’s house, her loyal servants are on the watch yet this man waltzes up to her in public, approaches her carriage and gets inside her house many times yet he’s never caught until the plot needs it. That got more than a little hard to believe. And how did he know of her dead husband’s pet name for her?

Colin’s courtship is so understated yet powerful. Deep waters and all. I love his final enticement to get Em to agree to marriage. Only someone who knows, loves and appreciates her could come up with that approach. Oh, and the engagement ring too. The way he proves his love — by rushing straight to her house after break-in, searching the house then standing guard over her the rest of the night — seems more Real Man to me than a lot of what we see in Romance books.

The book progresses slowly, as seems fitting for the setting, yet I couldn’t stop reading and was glued to it for last 50 odd pages. I felt that it seemed realistic that Em will face some public censure for her eccentric actions yet also makes sense that her dragon of a mother can tip the scales in Em’s favor — tea with the Queen ought to be enough to silence any busybodies. And though sad, it makes sense that her pursuit of her studies and growing dissatisfaction with restrictions of Victorian life would cause some rifts with Ivy who is trying to make her own way as a young matron and wife of a man with political ambitions.

At the end of two books, I feel that Em is ready to move on in her romantic life as she realizes that a husband can compliment and enhance her as a person, not just society-wise. After her more or less arranged first marriage of convenience, I think she needed to know this as I doubt she would settle for what she had in her first marriage. I look forward to reading more about Lady Emily and Colin and seeing what lovely cover you’ll have next. Dare I hope a wedding trip to Greece is in the cards?

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

6 Comments

  1. jaq
    Jun 13, 2007 @ 21:33:21

    I’m intrigued. Damn your eyes, Jayne! Visiting this site costs me money every single time–Amazon shows this one is in hardback.

    (Great cover art, too.)

    ReplyReply

  2. Jayne
    Jun 14, 2007 @ 03:57:37

    jaq, have you read “And Only to Deceive?” It’s the first book in this series and it’s out in trade paperback.

    ReplyReply

  3. jaq
    Jun 14, 2007 @ 12:06:26

    I’m going to hunt that one down today

    And by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for posting a review on the Lisa Cache book! ::counting the lint in my coin purse:: How am I going to save for my retirement and botox treatments?

    ReplyReply

  4. Jayne
    Jun 14, 2007 @ 18:27:32

    I’m there for ya, jaq! Remember, “Mermaid” is an older book so you should be able to find a copy in a UBS or online. Course you’d have to pay S&H for it….I don’t think any of her older titles are available as ebooks.

    ReplyReply

  5. Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary » Blog Archive » My First Sale by Tasha Alexander, Wherein Doing Rather Than Talking Turns into Bestselling
    Jan 18, 2008 @ 06:06:57

    [...] Victorian widow, Emily, and her instinctive mystery solving abilities : And Only to Deceive and A Poisoned Season. Alexander is a powerhouse of historical writing that brings to life the period drama that we [...]

  6. Daily Deals: Sweet Venom by Tara Lynn Childs
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 14:01:12

    [...] of a number two in a series but maybe number one was discounted a while back. Jayne reviewed this book here: The book progresses slowly, as seems fitting for the setting, yet I couldn’t stop reading and [...]

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