A Crimson Warning
There’s something fun about discovering a new to me author and when I finish the new find, I’m always happy to know more is waiting for me. This is how I felt with A Crimson Warning. I enjoyed the book and learning it is part of a series made me happy to know I would once more have the chance to peek in on Lady Emily’s Victorian London.
The season begins and Lady Emily is looking forward to the balls, her involvement in lobbying for the right to vote, and of course time with her favorite Greek books. At one of the season’s first events, Lady Emily is happily dancing away the evening with her husband Colin looking for an opportunity to sneak out so they can spend some time alone when a fight breaks out among two men. It turns out an affair has been exposed and the two are arguing over ladies at the party. Suddenly, Colin, an agent of the crown, is called away on urgent business. Emily heads home with friends to discuss the eventful evening. When Colin arrives it is with sad news — a well-known business man has been murdered. His fiancée is devastated but it’s when she starts receiving threatening notes from the person who claims to have killed her soon-to-be husband, that Emily and Colin start investigating. Days later, red paint is found splashed on the homes of some of London’s most well-to-do. The paint is a warning and shortly after secrets are revealed leaving some in London to revel in the disclosures, and others to fear for their lives and what will be revealed about them. When two of society’s ladies are kidnapped, the season that held so much promise for fun, is now filled with fear.
Lady Emily is far from the standard lady of the day. While she enjoys the pleasures of the season, it’s her work lobbying for the women’s right to vote that riles her mother, a more straight-forward Victorian lady, to no end. She’s also smart and extremely well-educated which keeps her highly involved in her husband’s affairs with the crown. And more so, he’s willing to keep her involved even when others think he’s wrong to do so. Their relationship is certainly more open than most at the time and that’s one of the reasons this story is fun. There is romance too but it’s not overwhelming and blends nicely in with the story. As a non-romance reader, I was slightly worried that it would overtake the story and I was happily surprised with the balance that was struck.
While I enjoyed Colin and Lady Emily’s investigation, what I enjoyed even more was the setting. Alexander does a wonderful job with the details creating interesting ladies and a picture of Victorian England that is easy to be swept up in. I do wish Lady Emily’s mother played a larger role in this book — she was quite the interesting character and obviously one very different from Emily. It would have been fun to see more of their interactions.
As a reader of a lot of historical fiction, this is one author I’ll be returning to for a dose of fun mixed with a great historical setting. Alexander does a fantastic job of weaving together interesting characters with a mystery to keep you wondering what secrets are buried deep in the closets of high society. If you like a little mystery mixed with your historical fiction, Alexander doesn’t disappoint.