New Release Review: Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed

(7) Diamonds & DeceitNew Release Review: Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed
Book 2 in At Somerton series
Release date: January 7, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Romance
Book provided by NetGalley and Disney Hyperion

Synopsis from Goodreads: One house, two worlds…book two in our sumptuous and enticing YA series about the servants and gentry at Somerton Court.
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.
The colorful cast of the At Somerton series returns in this enthralling sequel about class and fortune, trust and betrayal, love and revenge.

AH’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-

Blame it on Downton Abbey. I never really wanted to read historical romances. I don’t know, the genre never really appealed to me. Then I started watching Downton Abbey and when the season ended, I felt like something was missing. I needed a fix of early twentieth century historical romance fast.

Diamonds & Deceit helped fill in the void until the new season of Downton Abbey began last week. I was able to get in my fix of social teas, garden parties, the beautiful dresses, and the wonderful atmosphere of that time period. I was surprised to see how much I liked this book. I literally did not put the book down. I really can’t explain why – it was just a pleasure to read.

Diamonds & Deceit is set during the season of 1913. Lady Templeton is eager to marry off her daughter Ada to help settle some financial debts amassed by her cousin William. Ada is betrothed to Laurence – Lord Fintan, but it is a loveless engagement. Ada’s sister Charlotte is jealous of the match and does whatever she can do to thwart it. Meanwhile, Rose who was previously a servant joins the family. She is the earl’s illegitimate daughter. This is Rose’s first season and she feels awkward and out of place. Enter the handsome and very eligible Alexander Ross, the Duke of Huntley. He is smitten by Rose and her unconventional outlook on life.

I loved how the author captured the atmosphere of the period. It never ceased to amaze me just how many people were needed to run one of these large estates. I loved how this book highlighted the class differences and the upstairs/downstairs mentality. It also amazes me just how much work was involved in destroying a reputation back then – letters had to be written, delivered, and then they had to actually wait for a reply.

While Diamonds & Deceit was the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone book as well. I did not feel lost, nor did I feel that I missed anything. I did enjoy the book immensely and I will go back to read the first book in the series – Cinders & Sapphires.

I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author.

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Series Reading Order:

1. Cinders & Sapphires
2. Diamonds & Deceit

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for a review copy of this book.

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