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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Alexander, Tasha: And Only to Deceive

  Amazon  

4.5 stars

Emily Ashton, the widow of Viscount Ashton, barely knew her husband before his death on safari, mere months after their wedding. She hadn't married Philip for love, but rather because that's what you did in late 19th-century London when a titled bachelor asked for your hand and if, like Emily, you were eager to escape a nagging, pedestrian mother. But well into her mourning period, having borne the discomfort of not being heartbroken over her husband's death, Emily begins to learn more about him--enough to become interested in classical antiquities, one of Philip's passions, and enough to find herself falling in love, belatedly, with a man who seems to have been her perfect match. But delving into Philip's past lands Emily in trouble, not merely with the clucking dowagers who deem her conduct inappropriate for a lady, but also because her investigations threaten to expose the thievery of a gang of black-market antiquities dealers.

Tasha Alexander's debut novel is not an edge-of-your-seat read--which the book's billing as, "A Novel of Suspense" might have suggested. Instead it offers a clever mystery cum romance wrapped in charming pseudo-Victorian prose. Emily and her various hangers-on discuss everything--ungentlemanly crimes, the marriage prospects of their acquaintances, the majesty of Chapman's Homer--with great delicacy, very often over port, which was apparently considered a most unladylike drink at the time. The story is recounted in the first person by Emily, with brief excerpts from her late husband's diaries following each chapter. Emily is a likeable heroine, rebelling against her suffocating mother and the confines of Victorian society while uncovering the secrets of her husband's life and death. It's a pleasure to watch her do so. The mystery of one of Emily's suitors is wrapped up a little too quickly for my taste at the end of the book, and some readers may be bored by Emily's effusive discussions of Greek art and literature. I don't think this is the sort of book that will linger long in one's memory, but And Only to Deceive is a perfectly pleasant, absorbing read while it lasts.

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1.

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