A Terrible Beauty
Lady Emily #11
Ah, no wonder
the men of Troy and Argives under arms have suffered
years of agony all for her, for such a woman.
Beauty, terrible beauty!
—The Iliad, Homer, translated by Robert Fagles
On a quest to distract her lifelong friend Jeremy from his recent heartbreak, Lady Emily organizes a holiday in Greece. As a lover of all things Greek, she quickly finds herself occupied with tours of ancient ruins, lively debates with Margaret, a devoted Latinist, and slightly more scandalous endeavors with her dashing husband, Colin Hargreaves. But the pleasantries are brought to an abrupt halt when a man long believed dead greets the party at their island villa. Lord Philip Ashton, Colin's childhood best friend and Emily's first husband, has returned. But can Philip really be who he claims, even if he has the scars and stories to prove it? Where has he been for all this time? And will his undying love for Emily drive him to claim what's his?
Intrigue mounts as Philip reveals that he has been plagued for the past few years by an illegal antiques trader who believes he is in possession of a piece of Achilles' helmet, a priceless relic that was stolen from him moments after he unearthed it on an archaeological dig. Emily must employ all of her cunning and expertise to thwart thieves who threaten not only her own safety, but that of those precious artifacts she holds so dear. A trail of overheard conversations, murderous assailants, and dead bodies leads her on a chase to uncover more than one buried truth.
"This is an especially poignant interlude in Lady Emily’s history, filled with Alexander’s usual bravura hand at adventure, setting and intrigue. With its Greek setting this one reminded me a bit of Mary Stewart’s classic, The Moonspinners, mostly for the setting and the ability of both writers to convey what must be the otherworldly beauty of Greece. Stewart and Alexander are also wonderfully crisp storytellers, and if you enjoy one of these writers but are unfamiliar with the other, I urge you to give the other a try. I won’t reveal any more about the story other than to say this in an eminently satisfactory read in one of the most enjoyable historical mystery series on the planet." -Aunt Agatha's Bookstore
"...an engaging, unusual detective challenge...Character development comes with Emily’s wrestling with her long-buried guilt about how little she grieved for Philip. Emily and Colin lean on their physical passion for each other as they try to weather this disturbing storm. A recommended addition to this series." -Historical Novel Society
"...the newest book in Alexander’s extraordinary Lady Emily series is certainly one of the very best...This is a truly fantastic story. Plot is incredible, and Lady Emily and the gang, as always, are as vivid as the Grecian world. Readers and fans of Tasha Alexander will be over the moon for this one!" -Suspense Magazine
"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." -Bookreporter
"...interesting twists, a vivid setting, and engaging characters fill out a tale sure to please historical mystery lovers." -Publishers Weekly
"Series fans will be touched to see the frequently glib Lady Emily struggle with her feelings. (Not at the expense, of course, of solving multiple mysteries and trading quips with her family and friends.) Though over a decade old, this series could still be a delightful surprise for fans of plucky Victorian heroines like Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody." -Booklist