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And Only to Deceive

(Lady Emily Ashton Mysteries #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  18,036 ratings  ·  2,070 reviews
From gifted new writer Tasha Alexander comes a stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England, meticulously researched and with a twisty plot that involves stolen antiquities, betrayal, and murder

And Only to Deceive

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 socie
Paperback, 321 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2005)
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William Wehrmacher I made the mistake of reading #12 first. I attended a book signing for another favorite author an.d Tasha Alexander was there. I am about half way thr…moreI made the mistake of reading #12 first. I attended a book signing for another favorite author an.d Tasha Alexander was there. I am about half way through "And Only to Deceive" and am convinced it would have helped me understand Lady Emily more quickly and completely. I have tried to make it my practice to read series in order, but when they are this good I can forgive myself for breaking my own rule(less)

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of 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 t
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
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
✨ Gramy ✨
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kasa Cotugno
Title: And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Mysteries, Book 1) Kindle Edition
Author: Tasha Alexander
Narrator: Kate Reading
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
Pages: 336 pages of CLEAN entertainment
Genre: Historical Romance, European Regency, Mystery and Suspense
Book Type: Audible (through Hoopla)

I listened to this audiobook through Hoopla via my local public library. The narrator was Kate Reading. It is often difficult to determine if disappointment in a book is a di
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I’ve read all kind of books: there are those that made me cry, while with others I laughed; books that made me think and wonder or amuse me as I read them just for the kick of it. Tasha Alexander’s And Only to Deceive made me reflect, for it was different from the average historical fiction books I read recently. That is evident from its first paragraph:
‘Few people would look kindly on my reasons for marrying Philip; neither love nor money nor his title induced me to accept his proposal. Ye
Jun 30, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
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
May 26, 2009 rated it liked it
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. ...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
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Sometimes, a book just doesn't work for me no matter how much I want to enjoy it. And Only to Deceive have everything that I should like, interesting characters, a mystery and a tragic love story. However, somewhere along the way the story just lost my interest and unfortunately I never found it as interesting as it was, in the beginning, to read.

So, what went wrong? Why did this book not appeal to me? I think the biggest problem for me was that the plot, Emily's hunt for the truth about Philips
Jun 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
BAM Endlessly Booked
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: traded, mystery
GR has recommends this book to me for at least a year. I chanced upon it at a used book sale and thought, "what the hell?" I'm ever so glad I did! The only downfall to the plot is that the heroine doesn't enjoy coffee!?!??!! Of course, she is a Victorian lady, so it's tea for her, but she is so spunky that taking a glass of port after dinner with the gentlemen is quite acceptable. The plot left me questioning until the very end. I really didn't know who to blame for the crimes committed and was ...more
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
2.5 stars. This wasn't bad, but I found it dull. I kept reading hoping for more excitement, especially when, around page 200, they were going to (view spoiler) but they never even did that. A letdown. ...more
I love a good historical mystery but I found And Only to Deceive fair-to-middling. Perhaps it had to do with the first person tense. The bulk of the story was told from Lady Emily Ashton’s POV; from her brief marriage to her new found freedom while still a member of nobility.

I enjoyed the setting of the story; it oozed the Victorian era. I looked forward to reading Philip’s brief excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. It was a chance to read his POV before and after their marriage. They pro
Jacob Proffitt
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
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
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Our heroine married an acceptable suitor and was prepared to do her duty. She didn’t actually love him, but in her world love wasn’t necessary. Then he leaves for a safari and dies. Or did he?
After a year of quiet widowhood she embarks on a quest to find the truth.
Kris - My Novelesque Life

Lady Emily Ashton's (nee Bromley) character grows as the novel progresses but women's lib kind of knocks you too often in the head. As this takes place in the Victorian era I can see why this would be a big issue, but I think it would been better as a show then tell. A great Victorian mystery and is believable. Philip Ashton while on a hunting trip dies of a fever, but while Emily is in mourning she discovers who her husband really was and whether he was actually murdered. And, w
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
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
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I came into this with incorrect expectations. I thought this would be about a widow who didn't love her husband discovering who he was in life and unraveling the circumstances of his death. Instead this is about a preternaturally attractive widow finding passion in Ancient Greek art and literature while also being romantically pursued by two men and uncovering a mystery surrounding antiquities that eventually lead to demystifying her husband's death. I've read the story about the woman who doesn ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is historical fiction and an easy read. I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. I've read other books by this author, and they have been a solid 3 stars for me. I enjoyed Lady Emily in this one, even though her personality seemed too modern for the time in which this takes place, but it added charm in many ways. I liked the mystery of her husband, in determining if he survived or not. The journey of Emily in trying to figure out what happened to him was well thought out and had ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: hf, mystery
Enjoyable read. Set in Victorian England, Lady Emily is an independent minded young woman trapped in societal expectations of aristocracy of the day. Why is it that this type of heroine always seems to have a disagreeable mother?! Anyway, she marries just to get out from under her mother's thumb! Lord Ashton is off on safari soon after their wedding and never returns, contracting an illness and dying in Africa. Lady Emily is now very wealthy, doesn't have to play society games for at least a yea ...more
Diane Lynn
Really 2.5 stars, I had to force myself to finish it.

I didn't find much of a mystery here, it was obvious from the start what was going on and who was doing it. Also, very little romance and no suspense make for a very dull book. I did find the bits about Greek antiquities interesting.

At one point I thought the story was going to have an interesting twist but that didn't pan out so I hung on to the end and was disappointed.

I won't be recapping, the blurb does a decent job of that.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
A very slow building. A very deitailed descriptions. A very intriguing premise of falling in love with a deceised husband.

The first part was really slow, but it picked pace until at almost the very end it became really interesting!
Olga Godim
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Mar 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Melissa McShane
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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The daughter of two philosophy professors, I grew up surrounded by books. I was convinced from an early age that I was born in the wrong century and spent much of my childhood under the dining room table pretending it was a covered wagon. Even there, I was never without a book in hand and loved reading and history more than anything. I studied English Literature and Medieval History at the Univers ...more

Other books in the series

Lady Emily Ashton Mysteries (1 - 10 of 15 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 Terrible Beauty (Lady Emily, #11)

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