Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander
from the publisher:
"Even before Emily steps off the Orient Express in beautiful and decadent Constantinople, she's embroiled in intrigue and treachery. The brutal death of a concubine in the sultan's palace allows her first foray into investigating a crime as an official agent of the British Empire -- because only a woman can be given access to the forbidden world of the harem. There, she quickly discovers that its mysterious, sheltered walls offer no protection from a ruthless murder."
Tears of Pearl is the fourth installment of Tasha Alexander's Victorian mystery/romance series, and we find the ever-elegant couple, Emily and Colin Hargreaves, embarking on their honeymoon in exotic Turkey. The Orient Express has barely left the station when the mischief and mayhem begins.
For those who may not have read Alexander's previous novels, Tears could easily be a stand-alone read as the author neatly recaps characters and details and quickly brings the reader up-to-date. Despite the lavish setting and aura of mystery and intrigue of a sultan's harem, however, this newest mystery offering fell a little flat and had me losing my way with some forgettable characters. The writing just didn't have the same clarity as her previous novels. I was no where near as enchanted with Lady Emily and her escapades as I was with the first three novels. On a positive note, I did enjoy that the couple was at long last experiencing marital bliss, and the further development of Emily's character as she contemplates indepedence versus providing a future heir added another dimension to the story.
A light, quick mystery with an exotic setting -- easy afternoon read.
What I really loved (and highly recommend) are Tasha Alexander's photos from the research she pursued in writing Tears of Pearl. She has posted a glorious display of photos of the palaces of Constantinople, inside views of the rooms which housed the concubines, and the beautiful scenery around the palaces. I viewed this photo gallery prior to reading Tears, and it really helped bring to life the sultan's world. Click here to visit this fascinating photo gallery.
Title: Tears of Pearl
Author: Tasha Alexander
genre: historical mystery/romance