The London Season of 1913 is in full swing, and Rose has never felt more out of place. She can’t help but feel like a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then she meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard all sorts of gossip about Alexander, but he alone treats her as a friend. Rose should know better than to give her heart to a man with a reputation, but it may already be too late. Meanwhile, Ada’s also feeling miserable. She should be happy – she’s engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? She knows that without this marriage, her family will be ruined, but it seems that in matters of love, the Averley’s can only follow their hearts…
This is the second book in the At Somerton series, but you don’t need to have read the first in order to enjoy it. I did read the first, Secrets and Sapphires, last year, and I reviewed it on Girls Heart Books. Hot Key, the publishers, very kindly sent me a copy of the second after I begged and pleaded! I love At Somerton. But then I adore Downton Abbey, and this is basically the same thing, only in book form and with fewer pigs (sorry, Julian Fellowes, but the last series of DA was really VERY dull – apart from one absolutely horrible thing – and did there HAVE to be so many mentions of pigs? I DON’T CARE ABOUT PIGS).
Diamonds and Deceit is set three years after the beginning of the first book, and Rose, former housemaid, is trying to adapt to her new life as a lady. The only person she really feels herself with is Alexander Ross, a duke with a dubious reputation (SCANDAL!) . Lady Ada is engaged to Lord Fintan, who’s very nice to her but is secretly carrying on an affair with Ada’s stepsister (SCANDAL!). And Michael is trying to figure out how he can have a future with Priya, the Indian nursemaid (SCANDAL!!) and Sebastian is trying to get his boyfriend Oliver (SCANDAL!) out of jail.
I love a good scandal, me 🙂 And the characters are fab. Ada is the passionate idealist who has to hide her real personality in order to fit in with society’s requirements. You really get a sense of her inner struggle as she buries her feelings for Ravi, the Indian student she fell in love with in the first book (SCANDAL! Sorry, I’ll stop doing that now) and faces up to a future with a nice man she doesn’t love. I found it difficult to warm to Rose because she’s quite passive to start with. But Alexander Ross is a brilliant creation – is he really a cad or has everyone misunderstood him? And there’s plenty of plot and characters to be going on with. Poor Priya! And poor Oliver! But yay for the endings! I do like it when everything is tied up with a big sparkly bow 🙂
Leila Rasheed writes with ease and fluency and the book is divided into very short chapters, making it easy to breeze through. It’s the book equivalent of Sunday night with a hot chocolate and a log fire, and a sheepskin rug. It’s THAT yummy. I love it. More please!