Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Beautiful Puzzle

A TERRIBLE BEAUTY (Lady Emily # 11)
Tasha Alexander
MacMillan Audio
October 11, 2016

I have been bogged down with work and family issues this month so have fallen behind with posting reviews. Luckily, I can listen to audiobooks while I work and there have been some great ones this month. Number 11 of the Lady Emily mysteries is the first on my list. Lady Emily and her husband, Colin, are planning a stay on the Greek island of Santorini. Emily inherited a villa on the island from her first husband, Philip Ashton, who died while on safari in Africa. After nearly a decade, Emily and Colin have put their guilt behind them; Emily for never having really loved Philip, and Colin for having fallen in love with his best friend's wife. The two along with Emily's childhood friend, Jeremy, Duke of Bainbridge, hope for rest and relaxation on the island they all love. But in the weeks leading up to the trip, Emily has continual reminders of Philip, and what she thinks are sightings of him in the distance, even on shipboard. So she is not really surprised that upon arrival at the villa she finds a man who says he is the long-lost Philip. He certainly looks like Philip, has Philip's memories and tells an almost unbelievable story about his absence. But can he really be Philip Ashton?

The story is partially told through journal entries by both Emily and Philip, ranging over years. Tasha Alexander kept me guessing throughout. Just when I thought the man could be Philip she throws a curve ball that made me say, "wait....what"? A Terrible Beauty is an excellent entry in this long-running but sometimes uneven series. The setting in 1899 Greece and Africa adds color and life to the story. It can be read easily as a stand-alone but I would recommend reading the first book in the series, And Only to Deceive, for a full understanding of the people and events.

RATING- 4 Stars

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