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A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery


A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery

Eager to pull her dear friend, Jeremy Sheffield, Duke of Bainbridge, out of a case of the doldrums caused by an engagement that went terribly wrong, Lady Emily plans an entertaining getaway to Greece and the Greek islands. The party includes Lady Emily; her beloved husband and an agent of the queen, Colin Hargreaves; Jeremy; and Margaret Michaels, an avid Latinist. The two women are convinced that several weeks spent at Lady Emily's villa on the island of Santorini, coupled with visits to historic sites and archaeological digs, will distract Jeremy from his problems and brighten his mood.

While the holiday gets off to an auspicious start, the arrival of Lord Philip Ashton at Lady Emily's villa leaves everyone open-mouthed with astonishment. To their knowledge, Philip, Lady Emily's first husband and Colin's best friend, died 10 years ago on an African safari upon which he had embarked shortly after his marriage. His arrival immediately causes Lady Emily and Colin to wonder if their marriage is legally valid and whether or not their children might be considered illegitimate.

"Exotic locales, witty repartee and an intoxicating sense of privilege make A TERRIBLE BEAUTY a novel that's sure to please."

Initially, the band of travelers question if Philip is, indeed, Philip, who now goes by the name Philip Chapman. He looks somewhat different due to aging and several years spent in the sun and the elements. However, he knows things about Lady Emily and Colin that only Philip could know.

While Philip's arrival alone is startling enough, it also brings peril. An unscrupulous dealer of ancient antiquities has put his thugs on Philip's trail in order to wrest from him a piece of Achilles' helmet, which he believes Philip has, even though Philip claims the piece was stolen from him almost as soon as he had discovered it. Wherever Philip goes, danger and doubt follow. Due to the old ties they share with Philip, though, Lady Emily and Colin feel duty-bound to help him escape danger, even if their efforts may ultimately put the entire group in harm's way.

A TERRIBLE BEAUTY, the 11th installment in Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily series, gives us a chance to glimpse back into history, into the days before Lady Emily and Colin were a couple. While the pair experience unavoidable guilt when they realize that Philip has come home to reclaim his bride three years after his supposed death, only to find that his wife and his best friend are an item, they are also determined that not even this shocking event will destroy their marriage and their love.

The book easily transports readers to some of the most notable sites in Greek history, brings them along on archaeological digs, exposes them to the stories of mythology and allows them to experience life in 1899. It also keeps them guessing whether Lady Emily and company will escape harm and solve the mystery of the missing artifact. Exotic locales, witty repartee and an intoxicating sense of privilege make A TERRIBLE BEAUTY a novel that's sure to please.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on October 14, 2016

A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery
by Tasha Alexander