Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander

"Newly returned to her home in Mayfair, Lady Emily Hargreaves is looking forward to enjoying the delights of the season. The delights, that is, as defined by her own eccentricities—reading The Aeneid, waltzing with her dashing husband, and joining the Women’s Liberal Federation in the early stages of its campaign to win the vote for women.

But an audacious vandal disturbs the peace in the capital city, splashing red paint on the neat edifices of the homes of London’s elite. This mark, impossible to hide, presages the revelation of scandalous secrets, driving the hapless victims into disgrace, despair and even death.

Soon, all of London high society is living in fear of learning who will be the next target, and Lady Emily and her husband, Colin, favorite agent of the crown, must uncover the identity and reveal the motives of the twisted mind behind it all before another innocent life is lost."

(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

Sadly, I think this series has run its course for me. I am a big fan of the first three books, And Only to Deceive, A Poisoned Season, and A Fatal Waltz, and I was very much looking forward to the evolution of this elegant and sophisticated Victorian sleuthing couple. However, I've been underwhelmed with the last few books and I'm finding that the now-married Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves have lost their luster. Of course, they are a devoted and charming couple, but the relationship (which was such a highlight in the beginning) has faded to the background. The mystery of the splashed crimson paint upon unsuspecting victims' doorstep was intriguing -- the red paint indicated that there was a scandal soon to be revealed to society -- but the race to find clues led Emily on a search through the British museum (ho hum) and the conclusion was rather anticlimatic.

I'm sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but I think it's time for Tasha Alexander to try her hand at something different -- perhaps a stand alone with new characters and a completely different setting. I truly enjoy her very elegant writing style, and her recreation of Victorian society is charming, but I'd like to see her try a new direction.


Title: A Crimson Warning
Author: Tasha Alexander
Minotaur Books


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Sorry to hear you are underwhelmed, I'm still behind in the series and Tears of Pearl is next for me. I hate it when a series loses its lustre, as you say, I've experienced it too. I'll let you know what I think, I really liked "A Fatal Waltz" but they weren't married yet. I did just recently read a little extra that she published of Colin and Emily's wedding day in Greece - did you read it?

Joanne said...

Julie - No, I haven't heard of that piece! I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the tip.

Did you get a chance to go see Deanna Rabybourn, Lauren, and Tasha at their joint booksigning?

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I've only read as far as The Fatal Waltz, which I really enjoyed. I've heard mixed reviews of Tears of Pearl so I've put off reading it. After reading your review I think I'll continue to push it off. Do you think Alexander may have been better served by drawing out Emily and Colin's romance a little longer -- maybe not had them married off until the end of the series perhaps? I sometimes find that once the will they/won't they element of a romance is removed from a story my interest in it diminishes.

Marg said...

Like you I enjoyed the first three books, but the fourth one was really average and I haven't worked up the courage to read anymore yet!

Joanne said...

Melissa - That's a good point....once the tension of will they/won't they is over, there has to be something more than just physical attraction to keep the momentum of the series going. I'm thinking of Deanna Raybourn's sleuthing couple, Lady Julia and Brisbane, for example. I was worried after they finally married that the series would lose its spark -- not so! Raybourn keeps enough surprises and facets in the relationship to sustain interest (in fact, things are just starting to heat up and she's had five books on the couple and still going strong.) It's falling flat now and time to try a different strategy IMHO.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Joanee, no I didn't make it in. With downed power lines and everything so crazy here with our freak snow storm in NJ, it was impossible to even get into the city! It would have been nice, but I had no power and I just coudn't possibly get in to see them.

Joanne said...

Wow, Julie, I forgot about the snowstorm that hit the NE! Hope things get restored soon.

MamaMunky said...

I read And Only to Deceive and loved it. I had no idea it was a series! I'll definitely have to get the rest of them now!

Carole Rae said...

I'm sorry. I hate when series go south like that. Sometimes its best to get out with the good memories before they get tainted. Great and honest review.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the very honest review!

Staci said...

That's certainly a disappointment. I have yet to experience this series but I will remember what you said and maybe stop after book three!! As always, I love your great reviews and honest thoughts!!

Svea Love said...

Aw, what a bummer! As you know this has been one of my favorite series along with The Pink Carnation and Julia Grey novels. I just purchased this book so at least I am forewarned and wont go in with high expectations... maybe I will be make them really low so I will be quite happy with it ;)

Joanne said...

I know, Svea, I loved this fictional couple, too! The first three books are among my favorite reads. I'll be interested in hearing what you think -- you never know, you may have an entirely different opinion. (I hope you do like it.)

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