I apologize that my review for Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club was slow in geting posted today. Let’s just say that I’m having Internet issues, and leave it at that. But before I post my review, I would like to share some personal info…
“Jane Austen meets Austin, Tex., in this fast-paced, quirky novel about the unpredictability of love. Nicola James, a no-nonsense engineer, made a life plan when she was 13 and since then, all of her decisions had to fit The Plan, including romance. Her single deviation from this serious approach to life is a weakness for Jane Austen. Nicola’s life changes abruptly when she purchases a vintage journal shelved near a worn copy of Pride and Prejudice in an antique shop. Although her friends consistently urge Nicola to scrap The Plan, it’s the mischievous journal that provides an incentive when she opens it to read, “Miss Nicola James will be sensible and indulge in a little romance,” a vastly abbreviated version of her entry about an upcoming co-worker’s wedding. Curious, she adds another entry, only to find it becomes playfully edited, too. She attends the wedding solo, hoping to attract the attention of a predictable engineering co-worker, but develops an infatuation with Sean MacInnes, an iconoclastic Scottish rock musician. As he single-mindedly pursues her, forcing her out of her comfort zone, Nicola struggles to ignore her heart and adhere to The Plan. Goodnight’s breezy style with a believable heroine, lively conflicts and lots of best-friend confidences elevates this above the usual chick lit fare. (Feb.)”
I find it interesting that Jane Austen is barely mentioned. Hmmm….
Okay. Now on to the review!
This month I am reviewing A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander. I have been a die-hard Tasha Alexander fan ever since the release of And Only To Deceive, the first in the Lady Emily Mystery series, set in Victorian England (and other locales) and featuring a feisty blue-stocking. A Crimson Warning is book five in the series and a perfectly riveting installment. A little backstory: We are introduced to Lady Emily at the beginning of the series when she is facing her husband’s (Viscount Ashton’s) suspicious death. Daring to investigate, she finds herself butting heads with (not to mention, dangerously attracted to) professional inquiry agent Colin Hargreaves.
Fast-forward four books. Now Lady Emily Hargreaves is regularly assisting her husband on matters for the Crown, and engaging in her favorite pasttimes of reading Greek, patronizing the British Museum, and lately, joining the Women’s Liberal Federation in an attempt to get the vote for women. But there is something afoot in London that is setting everyone to worrying. Red swaths of paint are being splashed across the doors of some of the aristocracy, and subsequently, their scandalous secrets are being revealed, one by one. London is agog…and all are terrified that they might be next, and no one knows who is behind it. Scandal is unquestionably horrid, but murder is much worse. One of the individuals who received the red paint treatment was also chained to a desk and left to burn in a factory fire. It is that case that Colin Hargreaves, with the help of his wife, is investigating. But as the paint mars even more doors, and clues continue to elude them, the tension escalates, until they are dealing with kidnapping, and worse.
I am a huge fan of Lady Emily’s. I imagine she would have been close friends with Lady Julia Grey, of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Mystery series. Both are well-bred ladies who married out of duty, lost their husbands to murderous deeds, decided to investigate the crimes, eventually married their investigative partner, and now assist their husbands with cases when they are not pursuing interesting, intelluctual hobbies or acting as benefactresses. They are both likeable characters with considerably more freedoms than most ladies you would encounter in historical mysteries and romances from that period. They travel to exotic locales and find themselves in all manner of interesting situations. This book in particular hit on a variety of historically interesting topics, while keeping the mystery interesting, the story fast-paced, and the tension high. And everything was tied up nicely in the end, which I love. Highly recommended.
I hope everyone has a lovely holiday, and please visit Barrie Summy’s blog for additional reviews (and potential gift ideas).