Friday, August 08, 2008

A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

A Poisoned Season is the second book Tasha Alexander has written about the crime-solving London lady, Lady Emily Ashton. The first book was And Only to Deceive, which I also reviewed on this blog. 

A Poisoned Season starts a few months after the end of And Only to Deceive. Lady Emily has returned from her Greek retreat on Santorini left to her by her late husband. Her romance with Mr. Colin Hargreaves has also blossomed in this time. The great news about London is Mr. Charles Berry, claimant to the throne of France through direct descendency from Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Also at this time many items of value, claimed to have once belonged to the beheaded Queen herself, have been stolen from London homes. Lady Emily is asked by a friend to look into one of the thefts, but murders begin to occur almost as soon as she starts. Emily is also worried about notes left to her by a secret admirer--notes written in Greek and referring to her as "Kallista". 

I enjoyed this book for most of the same reasons I enjoyed its predecessor. Alexander describes the scenes while at the same time not resorting to wallpapering the novel to hide weak writing. The dialogue rings very true to the time period, not resorting to modern slang or references. 

What I really liked was how close Lady Emily came to scandal with her modern ideas on women having an education beyond how to be a good wife and mother. She was cut by members of Society a few times, and one of the more delightful parts of the book was when her mother--a Society proud shrew--comes to her rescue. Alexander explores the social rules of the time, the double standards between men and women, and the role of women during this time. Emily's opposite to her modern ideas is her friend Ivy, who is recently married and experience growing pains in her marriage. Their friendship often makes things difficult for Ivy and her politician husband. 

But we shall read about that in A Fatal Waltz, Alexander's next book. 

Grade: A

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