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And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily, #1)
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And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily #1)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  8,976 ratings  ·  1,251 reviews
For Emily, the sudden proposal of Philip, Viscount Ashton, freed her from her overbearing mother, set on a grand match. When the new groom died on safari, she felt little grief. Two years later, his journals reveal surprises, a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector deeply in love with his wife.

In his beloved quiet British Museum, she finds a dangerous secret while j
Paperback, 321 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2005)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
37th out of 1,022 books — 2,773 voters
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingMaisie Dobbs by Jacqueline WinspearMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Favorite Historical Mystery Series
12th out of 685 books — 694 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
"Don't fall in love with your dead husband, Kallista. It can bring you no joy."
There are few emotions more painful than regret, more specifically, the regret of finally realizing that you love someone, only after they've left---or after they've died. How horrible must it be to realize that you can't tell someone you love them. To come face to face with your own self-absorbance, your own youthful folly, your inability to see beyond yourself to a great love that could have been? A great love that
Lisa Kay
★★★★✩ I enjoyed this historical mystery very much and will definitely continue with the series. I’m glad I did this as a “buddy read,” as we were able to “dig” for clues together – making it all that more enjoyable. It connects with the Iliad and Greek artifacts in an engaging way, turning this novel into sophisticated fun for the mystery or suspense fan, with a touch of romance that is strictly “one foot on the floor.” Pictures pertaining to the book, that I found helpful, are below.

Some of the
This book started out very promising. As historical fiction, the author gets it right - enough detail for interest but not so much to bog down the story. She does not take too many liberties with the time period or setting. As a "novel of suspense" it is an engaging story... not really a page turner but enough suspense to keep me anxious to read on.

Where this book suffers most is with its heroine, Lady Emily Ashton. She is a young widow, a social station which makes her believe herself to be mor
This book? It was not my thing.

It was certainly readable enough -- nice and popcorny and fun -- but the thing about popcorn reading is that suspension of disbelief with regard to anachronisms kind of relies on a certain kind of lightheartedness, at least for me.

So when the narrator started going on and on about how she was now Free From The Bounds Of Society, my disbelief went crashing to the ground. Sure, I wouldn't want to have lived back then, but I feel like there's a way to do this kind of
I must confess. I feel a little bad about my relationship with Lady Emily Ashton. I came across her adventures in the wake of Lady Julia Grey's escapades and I fear I won't be able to do Emily justice, that she will always be overshadowed by Julia. And, um, Brisbane. Do not mistake me. I like Colin Hargreaves very much. He is a delight and I hope Emily never throws him over. But he's not....well. He's not Brisbane. There. I've said it. We can move on. If you haven't guessed by now, AND ONLY TO D ...more
Jacob Proffitt
This was a fun and an unexpectedly touching story featuring a woman who falls in love with her husband after he is dead. That central feature lends the book more weight, more poignancy, more engagement than it probably deserves. Not that Emily isn't engaging on her own. I particularly like her growing intellectual interests and determination to educate herself in areas that catch her attention. Attending lectures at university and hiring tutors for ancient language and art lessons just fit her s ...more
Jul 02, 2007 Emily rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like historical fiction, particularly Victorian-set mysteries
While in Borders, I picked up Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive. I quickly was drawn into the opening chapters: Alexander's given her heroine, Emily Ashton, a wry, crisp tone that is enchanting. In that sitting, I could see the mystery part of the book approaching, but was much more interested in Ashton's intellectual awakening as she found herself suddenly in a position of increased social power and financial independence. At home that evening, I kept regretting not buying it and wanting to ...more
As the novel opens, Lady Emily Ashton is horrified. She's a recent (and young) widow, and her period of half-mourning is not yet over. She's entered the stage where it's acceptable to participate in limited social events, and her mother plans to use these occasions to relaunch Emily into the marriage market. Emily had chosen to marry her husband to get away from her mother's matchmaking; apparently, even her status as a widow is not enough to protect her from her mother, now.

Her husband died whe
Jul 17, 2014 Lynn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elizabeth Peters fans
This one was a complete impulse buy. I picked it up because the jacket copy promised "a cauldron of intrigue, scandal, and danger" set in the British Museum and said it would be the result "had Jane Austen written The Da Vinci Code."

What hyperbole. It was none of those things. But it was a delightful, little, romantic Victorian cozy mystery. If anything, it reminded me of the Amelia Peabody mysteries - except instead of tracking down Egyptian artifacts in the field, the heroine of this novel tr
Melissa Proffitt
I have been re-rating some of my books after developing a new system, in which I rate based more on how I felt about a book than on its objective qualities, and came across this one after seeing another review of it. So I have to be honest. The prose style is average, it's got too many anachronisms, and the plot is ordinary. But I really liked it. Some of that is down to the characters, in particular the main character's approach to what life's given her, and I enjoyed the romance. And I remembe ...more
Olga Godim
This novel is subtitled “A Novel of Suspense,” but IMO it’s a misrepresentation. Suspense comprises a very small percentage of this story. Mostly, it’s a quaint historical novel, taking place in the end of the Victorian era.
The protagonist Emily is a rich young widow. She had only been married for a few months before her husband died on a hunt in Africa. She never loved him, never even really knew him. She married him to escape her overbearing mother. A year after his funeral and almost out of
An engaging historical romance, with an interesting plot and a diverse number of well constructed characters.

I loved the first page of the book,(as well, as the following's of course...)but that one did an amazing job at catching my interest, presenting a character, with a very dry sense of humour...

When Lady Emily finds herself widowed, she cannot in thruth, consider herself saddened by her husband's demise.

In fact, her husband's death, will give Emily, something she has longed for a long tim
Ana T.
When I read the back cover of this book I was immediately interested. There's something very appealing and romantic about getting to know someone by his letters and personal papers. Unfortunately for Lady Ashton her husband is already dead when she starts to get to know him that way.

For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily's dashing husband died on safari soon after thei
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Twiggy Strauss
Was looking to add on to my love of Ann Perry/Elizabeth Peters Victorian mysteries. This, by first time author Tasha Alexander, was like a romance novel without the good romance parts. The "mystery" was lacking, solved within a few chapters. Characters were inconsistent, and our heroine was very flat for me.
It was a new book and as such, pleasant to read. Also, I heard good things about it, so started out enjoying it. Then it turned out to be one of those smug stories where the hero/ine is so snarky, he/she can't keep from snarking even in his/her sleep. Tiresome to say the least. And the snark is not that good either. And the book is a historical only because the heroine gets to wear nice clothes, I suppose.

Lady Emily married a guy just to save herself from her horrible meddling mother. The guy di
AND ONLY TO DECEIVE (Suspense-England/France-1887) - Ex
Alexander, Tasha – 1st book
Morrow, 2005- Hardcover
Emily had only known her husband a very short time when he died during a hunt in Africa. But over a year later, she discovered his journal and found he had loved her and learned of his passion for antiquities. In her efforts to learn more, she learns about stolen and forged artifacts and fear her husband may have been involved in a fraud on the British Museum.
*** I started this one evening
Maybe more like 3.5 stars, depends on my mood. Overall I liked the book. It was a fairly quick and easy read. All the talk over Hector and Achilles characters kind of made me want to read at least the cliftnotes version of the Illiad. I must admit it's been years since I read it and I barely remember the story. So I am fairly certain that I missed several references or character allusions and what not because of that.

The characters were entertaining and the plot was interesting, if a bit predic
This book disappointed me, but fingers crossed for the series. I'm persevering and will read the next in the series hoping it will get better.

I felt that the characters were not fully developed and frankly almost unlikeable. Even by the end of the book I did not have a clear vision of the characters in either appearance or personality. The heroine even became mildly annoying by the end and her romantic counterpart appeared in and out randomly throughout the story and suddenly they're in love?!

I really enjoyed this read! It combines many of my favorite elements: history, mystery, a strong female protagonist and a splash of romance for fun. I feel as though Emily is a new friend of mine, and cannot wait to see what she does next. There are so many lovely characters in this book, I enjoyed them all very much, except for Emily's mother, who is a bit of a shrew. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the Victorian era, or is interested in antiquities as well as romance and mystery fans. Ha ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Craig rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: desperate romantics
Recommended to Craig by: my mother in law
This book is kind of embarrassing. It's totally fluffy and an obvious Jane Austen rip off, specifically the same characters and situations from Pride and Prejudice. If you've read all of Austen, this might be worth your time as you wish desperately that Jane could rise from the dead and write again. This book is only a very brief, and totally guilty, pleasure.

I did like it though. But I took my kids to see Alvin and the Chipmunks the other day, and I liked that too. So that's where I'm coming f
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Deanna Raybourn's "Silent" series, but it was entertaining. I couldn't help but compare the two as the protagonists have very similar setup: Rich, widowed, Victorian era, mystery about husband's death. This book seemed to dance around the story quite a bit, went off on tangents and had frequent periods of stalling in the middle. I enjoyed it, and will read the next though, as the setting is very interesting.
Julia Spencer-Fleming
I was once asked to quote this series. And have followed it avidly ever since. If you enjoy romance, you will love this series. If you enjoy early Victorian period pieces, you'll love this series. If you enjoy crime fiction you'll love this series. If you enjoy historical novels, you'll love this series. And why? Because Tasha Alexander is one helluva writer. And growing stronger with every book!
I found myself bored.
It wasn't the Victorian setting; I love Victorian themed books, Society and the Season- these things entertain and amuse me always. This book was no exception.

I was intrigued about the plot- a woman falls in love with her husband only when it's too late. It sounded tragically beautiful and I wasn't wrong- it was.

What bored me was the mention of Greek antiquities, art, and literature. I know we all have a bit of knowledge regarding Greek mythology and art, but this book
This felt so very much like … well, several books I've read before, but especially Silent in the Grave: Both were in the first person. In both, a Victorian lady is widowed, doesn't mind very much, finds out much later poor old hubby, Philip, Viscount Ashton, was murdered, and conducts investigation alongside husband's friend (with whom there are sparks) while stressing constantly about what to wear and when can I get out of mourning for heaven's sake it's not like I loved him. In both, I wound u ...more
I almost want to rate this higher based on the last third alone, but there's no getting around the fact that parts of this are less than amazing. Still, I quite enjoyed a lot of it, in particular the last third.

(view spoiler)
Where I got the book: bought retail at author event

And Only To Deceive was Tasha Alexander's debut novel and the introduction of Lady Emily Ashton. It's the late 1880s, and Emily has been widowed soon after her wedding. As she only married to escape her mother's incessant matchmaking, she is not mourning her husband--until she begins to learn about, and share, his interest in Greek culture and antiquities. She then falls in love with him for the first time, until she begins to discover that he m
Allison (The Allure of Books)
This is the first book of the Lady Emily series, which is a favorite of mine. Emily is a very strong female character who learns to think and study for herself after her husband's death. When mysterious circumstances are unearthed about her husband's death, Emily has to decide who to trust: Andrew, the man who seems to be in love with her, or her husband's best friend Colin.

The Greek antiquities her husband collected become fascinating to Emily, and she starts studying them as well as Homer, the
The Lit Bitch
I’ve had this book on my radar for some time and was delighted that I was able to work it into my rigorous reading schedule. This book struck my interest for a number of reasons: 1) set in the Victorian era, 2) exotic locations, 3) antiquities heist, 4) romance, and of course 5) mystery! How could I not love this book? I found myself comparing it a lot to the beloved Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters….if you like those books than this is a series for you!

I loved Emily’s character. I thou
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Tasha Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Emily series and the novel ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE. She attended the University of Notre Dame, where she studied English and Medieval History. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She and her husband, novelist Andrew Grant, divide their time between Chicago an ...more
More about Tasha Alexander...

Other Books in the Series

Lady Emily (10 books)
  • A Poisoned Season (Lady Emily, #2)
  • A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)
  • Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily, #4)
  • Dangerous to Know (Lady Emily, #5)
  • A Crimson Warning (Lady Emily, #6)
  • Death in the Floating City (Lady Emily, #7)
  • Behind the Shattered Glass (Lady Emily, #8)
  • The Counterfeit Heiress (Lady Emily, #9)
  • The Adventuress (Lady Emily, #10)
A Poisoned Season (Lady Emily, #2) A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3) Dangerous to Know (Lady Emily, #5) Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily, #4) A Crimson Warning (Lady Emily, #6)

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“At least as a single woman, I had time to pursue my own interests, read voraciously, and travel when opportunity presented.” 45 likes
“Beastly of him to die before you realized he might be fascinating.” 11 likes
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