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Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily Mysteries, Book 4) Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
In Alexander's lackluster fourth Lady Emily historical (after A Fatal Waltz), Emily and her new husband, British intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves, are honeymooning in Constantinople when a half-English harem girl is murdered. After Colin is charged with the investigation, the British crown reluctantly allows Emily to handle questioning within the harem. Emily follows the clues much farther afield, exploring the tangled histories of the victim's diplomat father from whom she was abducted many years before, her troubled archeologist brother and sultans both current and deposed. The author deftly handles the exotic setting and a subplot in which Emily worries she may be pregnant, but a lack of tension and a number of implausibilities, starting with the ease with which a Western woman can play detective in despotic, late 19th-century Constantinople, make this a relatively weak entry. Hopefully, Emily will recover her usual sparkle once the newlyweds return to more familiar ground. Author tour.(Sept.)
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“The forth book of Alexander’s Victorian-era series has a lush setting and beautiful details. . . . The romance and lovely writing sweep the readers along. Emily is a most independent woman for her time. Her voice and the accurate historical details will keep the reader enthralled.”—Romantic Times (4 ½ stars, Top Pick)
“The author deftly handles the exotic setting and a subplot in which Emily worries she may be pregnant.”—Publishers Weekly
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I got a real feel for the characters and their relationships in this one, something that was sorely lacking in Book 9. The whole reason I grabbed this book, actually, was ‘cause I had heard it’s the “honeymoon” book between Colin and Emily, and I really wanted more of these two. And for the most part, I got it. I relished the real love connection between these two; it was a true treat to see Emily treasured for more than just her beauty and to see how much Colin really meant to Emily.
I also got some quality time in Emily’s head, seeing her confidence in her investigative skills, her insecurities with her own body and place in society, and fears from her past that impact her in the present. I actually really enjoyed exploring Emily in this book, getting to know her so to speak, even if several of my co-reviewers weren't that thrilled about it.
The world of late 19th century Constantinople and the world of the Ottoman court and harem life was also a treat. Tasha delivers again in her vivid descriptive passages and in her world-building. She transports her readers to this exotic and not often explored world with great skill. I especially treasured seeing how the inner politics of the harem were seen from the POV of an English lady and how different life in this part of world was different for women in general during this time period.
Now the mystery portion of the book? Not such a great feature in this volume. Don’t get me wrong. I was intrigued to find out the whodunit, and the eventual culprit was a surprise to me as I was reading along. But there were instances where I was very surprised at the ease in which Emily was given access to the harem itself. Some of the coincidences of evidence appearing like magic and some of the logic leaps were also eyebrow raising for me.
For me, the attractions and detraction for this volume versus book 9 were almost exact opposites. The time spent exploring the characters and their relationships were a treasure. Yet, the mystery portion was lackluster in areas and just downright audacious at times. I’m definitely glad I grabbed this book as it evens out the 9th volume very well. I got a feel for the characters even if the mystery part wasn't up to snuff. I’m going to be reading more of this series for sure; this volume just cemented my love for the characters and their relationships.
I didn't really like the main characters or connect with them.