Skip to main content

A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

This second installment in the Lady Emily Ashton mystery series definitely exceeded my expectations. I ended up rather underwhelmed by the first book. Nevertheless, I was willing to move forward, hoping things would pick up substantially in the second. And by "things" I mean plotline, character development, chemistry between principals...pretty much the whole shebang. Good news is--they did. Quite a bit, in fact. And I'm still trying to decide whether I adjusted to the world and writing style or if they gussied up a bit. Either way A Poisoned Season  was a very enjoyable read. 

Emily leaves her beloved Greece reluctantly, returning home to England for the dreaded Season. Now that she's a couple of years into her widowhood, Emily couldn't possibly care less about the endless winings and dinings, myriad marriage brokerings, and insipid social maneuverings that consume the London aristocracy for months on end. The string of cards and parties is spiced up a bit, however, by a series of burglaries--all of them items once owned by the late Marie Antoinette. When her friend Cecile's diamond earrings are stolen from Emily's own home, she becomes interested in investigating. Matters become a little more personal when the thief reveals a tendresse for Emily herself, stealing in and out of her home at will, leaving love letters and fragments of poems penned in ancient Greek. Meanwhile, Margaret has taken up with a duke, Colin is involved investigating a pretender to the defunct throne of France, and Emily's mother is determined to see Emily married again before the Season's end. 

I thought things came together much more seamlessly in this story than in the first. Emily is much more sure of herself and less and less interested in what others think of her. It was a pleasure to watch her flaunt stuffy society matrons and their catty gossip in favor of learning Greek,  investigating crime, and deepening her friendship with the ever-openminded agent of the crown--Colin Hargreaves. I like how Colin never once forces Emily to do anything. I like how Emily very sensibly waits to make any permanent changes to her life before she knows her own mind on the matter. Where And Only to Deceive made me want to pull out my copy of The Iliad and settle in, A Poisoned Season sent me into a French Revolution phase, digging out my battered A Tale of Two Cities, as the mystery centers around the exiled French royal family, the life of Marie Antoinette, and the political machinations of the beleaguered Republic. This one had a delicious ending and left me eager for the next one.

Comments

  1. Yay! Emily is my nameee(:

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lol. Then you should definitely pick these up! I would love to read about a cool character with my name. Unfortunately, I have yet to run across one...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really enjoy reading about Emily's exploits - but I also liked that Alexander showed the opinions of Society actually hitting home rather than Emily getting to blithely flout Society with no repercussions because she's friends with a duke or whatever!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Angie, your review is spot on, poisoned season is a big improvement on and only to deceive. Just letting you know though... the next two have been published, and I know that a fatal waltz at least, is a worthwhile read

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Review | The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vols. 1 & 2 by Beth Brower

I feel a bit giddy finally talking to you all about this series. If you'll remember, I fell madly in love with The Q  when it came out a few years ago. Now, Beth Brower is writing The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion — a series of novellas set in London in 1883. Each volume is an excerpt from the incorrigible Emma's journals, and the first two volumes are already available with the third on the way soon. I think they'd make rather perfect pandemic reading. Humorous and charming down to their bones, they're just what the doctor ordered to lift your spirits in this uncertain time that just proves to be too much some days. If you're experiencing one of those days, I suggest giving Volume 1   a go (it's only 99 cents on Kindle, $4.99 for a trade paperback copy). It will surprise exactly none of you that I own print and digital editions of both volumes.  Miss Emma M. Lion has waited long enough. Come hell or high water (and really, given her track record,  both a

Review | If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

It's been years since I picked up a Mhairi McFarlane novel, and I'm not really sure why that is. I liked  It's Not Me, It's You well enough (it's obvious she's quite a witty writer), but something about the execution felt off and I think I let that keep me from diving deeper into her backlist. Then came an offer to review her upcoming title If I Never Met You , and something about this one seemed to call out to me. As though it was time. As though Laurie and Jamie might be the ones. Spoiler alert: It was and they were. It was the perfect read for a couple of dreary, grey January days. While not perhaps as bubbly as I've Got Your Number , I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoyed that novel. They share a business setting, two individuals who are more than they know themselves to be, and a wonderfully slow burn romance. Readers who love Sarra Manning and  Beth O'Leary 's  The Flatshare should also take note. Comedy was tragedy plus

Angie's Best Books of 2019

It is the last day of the year. How are you doing at this point? You good to go on? I'm going to. For a number of important reasons, which are too varied (or possibly too private) to enumerate here. So how about we say we shall go on because: "Gansey. That's all there is." I find that "Because Gansey" is highly motivating when motivation is thin on the ground. Also thin on the ground have been my posts this year. And yet, I'm still not stopping. And I still greatly enjoy arriving at this final post of the year. And so here I leave my best books of the year. It wound up being a respectable nineteen titles this year. Nineteen for 2019. That's down a fair bit from last year's whopping twenty-eight, but rather on par with previous years' lists and more than 2016 and 2017, respectively. I'm pleased. I'm pleased with every book on this list, with every one of the books you shared with me and the ones I've been able to share with you.