Review: Behind the Shattered Glass

ImageTitle: Behind the Shattered Glass (Lady Emily #8)

Author: Tasha Alexander

Rating: ★★

Provided Synopsis: Anglemore Park is the ancestral home of Lady Emily Hargreave’s husband Colin. But the stately calm of country life is destroyed when their neighbor, the Marquess of Montagu, bursts through the French doors from the garden and falls down dead in front of the shocked gathering.  But who has a motive for murdering the young aristocrat?  The lovely cousin who was threatened by his engagement, the Oxford friend he falsely accused of cheating, the scheming vicar’s daughter he shamelessly seduced or the relative no one knew existed who appears to claim the Montagu title?  Who is the mysterious woman seen walking with him moments before he was brutally attacked? 

The trail takes readers into the gilded world of a British manor house and below stairs to the servants who know all the secrets. One family’s hidden past and a forbidden passion are the clues to a puzzle only Lady Emily can solve.

Review: Unfortunately, this has been my least favorite installment of the Lady Emily series. I could not feel engaged in the plot, and there was such a distance between myself the familiar characters that is was very disconcerting.

Some of my troubles with this book can be related to the format of it. In Behind the Shattered Glass, Tasha Alexander takes an Upstairs-Downstairs approach to the storytelling. Lady Emily, as always, is a narrator of the story, but now so too are a house maid named Lily and a kitchen maid named Prudence. As a fan of the hit television show Downton Abbey I thought that this approach would not frustrate me as much as it did. But I did not like having to switch point-of-views with every chapter, many of which were too small to be satisfying. I would have rather read the entire story as told by Emily. While the author’s decision behind this formatting choice becomes apparent towards the end of the novel, I remain a firm believer that is was not necessary and lent nothing to the development of Emily’s character.

Furthermore, the mystery Emily and her husband, Colin, must solve in this book was not of much interest. I have read plenty more elaborate plots than what was the case in Behind the Shattered Glass. This story read much more like a novella — it was a thought and a small adventure that did not translate well to a novel.

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