Series Spotlight: Lady Emily Series
I spoke about this series in my "books of the year" post for 2014, and I thought I'd do a slightly more in-depth post about it. So far these are the only books I've read from the series, but I have a couple more from the library that I need to read.
The series is set in Victorian London. The protagonist is a fashionable, scholarly, somewhat unconventional young woman named Emily. I believe these are books 2 and 7 and in the second she is in a courtship-like relationship with a man, Colin Hargreaves, whom she is married to in the 7th. The series is a mystery series. Emily herself is not a detective per se, but she enjoys solving mysteries and they tend to just fall into her lap most of the time. Her husband is employed by the British government for technically the same thing – he is a detective/policeman and she accompanies and helps him with his cases from time to time (that's the case with the 7th).
The plot of the 2nd book is fairly fast paced. It is based in London during the "season," a time when prospective young men are encouraged to find a young woman, many times through the ladies' overly eager mothers who are not unlike Mrs. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice. So glad I do not live in time when finding a husband is a woman's one and only goal in life! However, I found the 7th one to get a little long and it felt a little dragged out towards the end. I did enjoy it, though.
Let's talk characters for a minute. I love Lady Emily. I love that she's different from everyone around her and that she's not afraid to be herself and do the things she likes. I loved the playful banter between her and Mr. Hargreaves in the 2nd book, and her witty personality is never overdone or overbearing. I really enjoy her. I also really like Colin. He is the perfect gentleman. His manners are impeccable and he honors Emily's wishes above his own. I like that the books are about Emily, that the presence of him as her suitor, fiancee, and then husband is in the background. I like books where there is a strong central character and where the author focuses on her.
Also, for just a second, Emily's mother. She is hilarious and basically a reincarnation of Mrs. Bennet. She and Lady Emily don't always get along, which is kind of entertaining.
And because you should know me by now, let's talk about some superficial things I did and did not like. First of all, something I did not like. Before Colin and Emily are married – while he's courting her – they have a kind of unofficial "pact" of minimal physical contact, or at least, Colin does. Emily is always teasing him and trying to get a kiss when they separate, but he is fairly strict about it. Not in a stern or fatherly way – you can tell he wants one as much as she does – but he is certainly more principled in this area than Emily. They hint several times that something happened before that they wouldn't want to repeat. This is all good and whatever, but I felt like in the 2nd book it's overstated. Like the author doesn't think the readers remember and so she has to repeat the process every time Emily and Colin part. Emily teases him for a kiss, Colin reminds her what "happened before," she agrees, and they go their separate ways. It just happens a lot. So that's my one beef, and it may have just been that one book, I'm not sure. I don't appreciate when authors overstate something.
And then something I did appreciate. I love the writing in these books. The author's style perfectly fits the time period and the characters. She does an amazing job at connecting the reader with Lady Emily. It really bothers me when I can't connect with the main character in a book, and I have no problems with this series. Emily is not completely transparent, but the author opens her up enough that the reader really feels like he/she knows her. I love that. I also appreciate that the romance is not overdone. I love my historical mysteries full of history and mystery, with a little bit of romance woven throughout to keep me interested. This series is perfect at balancing all three of those in a way that makes me love it.
I believe there are 9 or 10 books in the series, so be sure to check them out if you love historical mysteries! Thanks for reading! xo, Ella