Monday, May 31, 2010

Murder on the Bosporus, or Lady Emily Uncovers All While Defying Patently Backward and Unjust Victorian Societal Mores

I spend a not insignificant amount of time (well, okay, not that significant) polling the internet for reading suggestions.  Based on Amazon's "people who buy this also buy..." and Lauren Willig's reading suggestions, the Tasha Alexander books came to my attention.  These books, very similarly to the Lady Julia series as pointed out by Huvi, are Victorian mystery/romances - so a bit later than my optimum time period, and not quite my genre, but close enough :) I started reading them a few months ago and just finished the fourth (and last one) over the weekend.

I basically have the same review for the entire series - not a bad romance, Colin's definitely cool, and Emily has a lot going for her.  Unfortunately, Emily has a little *too* much going for her - she's definitely got some Mary Sue stuff going on - and her attitude about independence, women's rights, etc. is more than a little annoying - I mean we are *soo* proud of you for drinking port with the men, and I *totally* get why you're afraid to marry this wonderful guy because you'd be giving up on your independent widowhood... or maybe I'd be more sympathetic if the book was better written.  But that being said, pretty easy read, and mostly pretty fun - and, yes, romantic.

But this is the fourth book and Colin and Emily are married so... farewell romance (hello, being reminded *every other second* that they are finally married).  And the annoying writing hasn't disappeared.  So at first I was enjoying Tears of Pearl rather less than the others.  But the truth is... the book was interesting :) It took place in Turkey, during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and even though the "enlightened" outlook of Muslim life grated, I think there was enough authenticity that it was... well if not fascinating, enough to make me read on.  And the plot was good! I mean it wasn't the greatest mystery in the world (it was pretty obvious who the culprit was and most of the other secrets) but it moved fast.  And guess what? the subplot with Ivy's and Emily's pregnancies was actually pretty good - even added back in a little pathos - and of course, pathos = romance in my book :)

So it was more enjoyable than I expected.  The ending was a little more subdued than I would have expected/liked.  Not everyone ends up happy - and Emily... should I spoil? guess so, who's reading this anyway :) loses her baby and possibly her ability to have children - but I have faith that this at least will be resolved in the next book, whenever that comes out :)

Verdict: 3.5/5
Food: well... it definitely struck some decidedly wrong notes... but the genre was right and I like it anyway... I guess I'll go with slightly raw string beans - I *love* them when they are cooked right (soft with lots of garlic salt, onions, and mushrooms) but all too often, the crispy police strike and I have to be satisfied with a slightly raw dish... which I eat anyway, cuz it's still good :)

(like the pic? :))

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