Tasha Alexander studied English Literature and Medieval History at the University of Notre Dame. She wrote a novel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and the long-running Lady Emily Series. She is married to British novelist Andrew Grant and lives in Chicago and Wyoming.
Lady Emily, who first appeared in Tasha Alexander’s 2005 novel, And Only to Deceive, is one of the characters I return to again and again. The author delves into British history with an eye for historical accuracy combined with the ability to create fully human characters who are capable of wit and subtlety. She’s also managed to combine dazzling historical fiction (fabulous descriptions of England through the centuries) with well-planned, gripping mysteries. Royalty is often involved, and Alexander conveys an urgency – the Crown is at risk unless the mystery is solved. I always get immersed in the rich details; servants are plentiful, clothing is magnificent, Emily travels into the underbelly of London to get to the bottom of a murder, and her dashing husband Colin reports directly to the queen or king. The inner workings of Britain are portrayed from the Victorian through Edwardian periods, with occasional visits to the distant past, as in Uneasy Lies the Crown, which includes a story line from 1415 that later ties in with the current day mystery.
I admire the ease with which Lady Emily Hargreaves travels around the world — it makes me feel silly for complaining about long flights. But then again, we’d all be better prepared for a few weeks in Moscow if we engaged a retinue of servants to carry our trunks. These are delicious books (best enjoyed with a cup of tea that your trusted maid brings in with the afternoon mail). There are fourteen books in the Lady Emily series thus far, and I hope Tasha Alexander is not yet finished.