I love historical mysteries. With such a colorful cover, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued.
When the Duke of Olympia dies his longtime secretary Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove is commissioned to seek out his heir, Maximillian Haywood. Max has apparently slipped off the face of the earth since arriving in Crete for an archeological dig. Emmeline agrees to make the journey to Crete, but is immediately frustrated by the discovery she is to be accompanied by the notorious Lord Silverton. Silverton is most known for his weakness for the opposite sex.
Emmeline, in some ways, puts me in mind of Amelia Peabody. She is the most beloved character created by the late Elizabeth Peters. The story's plot is quite complicated at times and unfortunately moves at a snail’s pace with entirely too much dialogue. There wasn’t enough action, suspense, or paranormal elements. The ends was just too over the top for my taste.
This was an extremely ambitious novel in some ways. There were too many elements crammed into it, such as time travel, conversations with dead people, Greek mythological figures and myths. That’s all on top of the mysterious disappearance of Max, plus the attempt to spark a little flame between the valiant Emmeline and the most unconventional Lord Silverton.
Silverton’s character rubbed me the wrong way right from the start and kept on infuriating me by flaunting his conquest under Emmeline’s nose and appearing to enjoy her hurt feelings and embarrassment.
While it could be argued, he was attempting to encourage Emmeline to live a little, his approach was rude by any standards, in any time period. Although, I will admit, he did redeem himself somewhat as the novel progresses.
I realize the banter between Silverton and Emmeline is meant to be humorous, but it fell flat.
Emmeline is a woman ahead of her time, holding a job typically held by men. Although she is so rigid, and allows Silverton to get under her skin, I admired her tenacity and concern for people.
She is slightly contradictory and inconsistent. But there is so much going on under the surface with her, she makes quite an interesting character study.
The conclusion is simply… I don’t know. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, it might go a long way toward understanding how things concluded, but I can’t say I was too happy with the ending. While it didn’t end with a cliffhanger, it left too much open to speculation and I felt some issues were left unexplained. However, there is always the possibility of a sequel.
Although, this book didn’t appeal to me as much as I’d hoped, I do admire the valiant effort and vivid imagination of the author and applaud her courage in writing outside her usual niche.
Personally, I think the author has the right idea. A more conventional mystery, without the paranormal elements, would have worked better for me.
Known for her original plots, deft characterization, and lyrical voice, Juliana Gray presents an extraordinary novel of an uncommon pursuit…
February, 1906. As the personal secretary of the recently departed Duke of Olympia—and a woman of scrupulous character—Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove never expected her duties to involve steaming through the Mediterranean on a private yacht, under the prodigal eye of one Lord Silverton, the most charmingly corrupt bachelor in London. But here they are, improperly bound on a quest to find the duke’s enigmatic heir, current whereabouts unknown.
An expert on anachronisms, Maximilian Haywood was last seen at an archaeological dig on the island of Crete. And from the moment Truelove and Silverton disembark, they are met with incidents of a suspicious nature: a ransacked flat, a murdered government employee, an assassination attempt. As they travel from port to port on Max’s trail, piecing together the strange events of the days before his disappearance, Truelove will discover the folly of her misconceptions—about the whims of the heart, the motives of men, and the nature of time itself…