A house divided...
London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can't help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Ross's sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late.
Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William's expenditures. Her father's heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys' reputation.
Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him--for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.
Rasheed is starting to really have fun with this series. This book was a la Mary getting rid of the guy she just sexed to death! Yay, super duper happy face! Much more salacious and full of love entanglements that break all the rules, Rasheed runs away with these characters putting them in (often) ridiculous situations and then saving their necks at the last second. It was fun in a way a series of this type really should be, which is to say, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Don't expect it to be true to historical fact, and make sure you suspend you disbelief at the door, and you will be rewarded by fun of the uptight Mary with the killer vajayjay variety, but you know, YA version.
My one beef was how Rasheed has gentrified the only downstairs person she followed to any really degree so there is very little of the service side to this story (much less Downton Abbey-esque), which is really too bad. She has tiny bits of story from the POV of these characters but she really doesn't do anything with it, IE: they're not really characters you get to know anything about. I worry this will deeply limit the series going forward (sad face) since it's cast of characters gets exponentially smaller, but really it was no less entertaining even with that change (but you know, less likely to turn into a epic modern day series of the Sweet Valley proportions, which it previously had the potential to be).
Like the first book, I ploughed through Diamonds and Deceit in some ridiculously short amount of time (you know, considering the fact I sleep very little these days but also have very little time of my own. Good thing the house slug is awfully cute and cuddly). It was high on the light reads/entertainment value and the hubby was shaking his head at my oohs and ahhhs over the scandals and reveals. Fun, thy name is currently- At Somerton.
PS- When this book came in the mail, I was all excited because on the back flap you see a veil in the background, and here I thought the white dress was just going to be the debutant dress to be introduced to Royalty. A wedding had far more potential to be scandalous, and Rasheed did not disappoint in that regard at all.
Diamonds and Deceit, by Leila Rasheed
Published by Hyperion, January 7th, 2014