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Diamonds & Deceit

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Diamonds & Deceit

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Lavish, historical, romance, betrayal, scandal. I am in love with this series. Yet again, Leila Rasheed plunges us into the luxurious world of the people at Somerton and I loved it. This series will be one I can easily reread again and again. I love the characters and how they all have their own distinct voices and personalities that really come through when you're reading from their perspective. I was so disappointed in Laurence. He was so good around Ada, a different person really, and if 5 Words: Lavish, historical, romance, betrayal, scandal. I am in love with this series. Yet again, Leila Rasheed plunges us into the luxurious world of the people at Somerton and I loved it. This series will be one I can easily reread again and again. I love the characters and how they all have their own distinct voices and personalities that really come through when you're reading from their perspective. I was so disappointed in Laurence. He was so good around Ada, a different person really, and if he hadn't been such an idiot it could have actually worked. Charlotte isn't totally to blame for her actions, from reading her perspective I really understand her motives. I actually pitied her a little bit! But her mother? Well, I definitely don't like Lady Westlake. Rose really struggled in this book, even more than in the first book. But she's such a strong character and I loved how everything ended for her. I could read about Rose all day, and how she gallantly stumbles through the life she's thrust in to. She puts up with so much, coping with some of the nastiest people and most awkward situations. This book is just as lavish and extravagant as the first, perhaps even more so. And now I have so long to wait for the next one!

  2. 5 out of 5

    AH

    Initial Thoughts: This reminded me a little of Downton Abbey for Young Adults. A charming period piece, set in London and area near the start of WWI. Lots of beautiful dresses, balls, conniving girls, and all sorts of intrigue. A quick read and a fun diversion. The Review: 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 missi Initial Thoughts: This reminded me a little of Downton Abbey for Young Adults. A charming period piece, set in London and area near the start of WWI. Lots of beautiful dresses, balls, conniving girls, and all sorts of intrigue. A quick read and a fun diversion. The Review: 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. Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion Books for a review copy of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    So many books have been likened to the TV show I would die for: Downton Abbey… But I have to say, I've been sorely been disappointed by all of them. Diamonds and Deceit was a lovely exception that broke my streak of reading books that have been compared to Downton Abbey and not receiving my reward. I dearly adore this series so much!! It's the first that I, as a nitpicky, Downton Abbey fan, can say lived up to it's reputation without being seen as copied directly from the script of Downton Abbey So many books have been likened to the TV show I would die for: Downton Abbey… But I have to say, I've been sorely been disappointed by all of them. Diamonds and Deceit was a lovely exception that broke my streak of reading books that have been compared to Downton Abbey and not receiving my reward. I dearly adore this series so much!! It's the first that I, as a nitpicky, Downton Abbey fan, can say lived up to it's reputation without being seen as copied directly from the script of Downton Abbey! The first reward I had was to see a dynamic and thoroughly versatile cast of characters with vibrant and unique personalities. As I read, I could distinctly tell, "This one is Rose" or "This is Ada" or "This is conniving Charlotte"! I loved how each and every character developed, the roles they played out! But by far my favorite characters were sweet and loyal Georgina, and kind-hearted but unaccepted Rose. They really stood up to me as though they were seen to be unexceptional, quiet and weak, they were strong and brave in their own right. I loved how the plot went and how distrust and deceit that was so common in that time was woven in spectacularly. It kept my eyes rooted onto my ereader and I read till 2 in the morning just to finish this one!! There were so many subplots and twists, yet it wasn't that difficult to keep up! I loved how Leila Rasheed brought out the connections of Upstairs and Downstairs, and also the overlaps of the between. The romance in Diamonds and Deceit was particularly bittersweet as well. Ada is to be engaged to Lord Fintan, but she secretly wishes for her old love, Ravi. And young Lord Fintan tries to break his romantic ties with the feisty but scheming Charlotte, who is step-sister to Ada. Yet temptation keeps coming back to him, making him return to her. I never thought Laurence and Charlotte were a good match, and this made me feel infuriated with them and sorry for Ada (who I feel fond of as well!). But Laurence's good side always came through when he was with Ada, but the ending that came was inevitable. I really loved watching Rose trying to find herself and her space in society. SHe was constantly being rejected by the other socialites of her age due to her place as an illegitimate child of Lord Westlake. Yet her character and demeanor stands out to me so much, and I really loved watching her grow and try to find herself and love with Alexander, who was also an outcast from society, but wanted by many for his fortune. Readers who may not enjoy Historical, however, will still enjoy this novel, I would think! Leila Rasheed's writing style is elegant, and I found that the manner which she chose to tell her story also shines and it's not difficult to become hooked! She also explores unconventional situations in the 20th century. It's not often explored, and not talked about: interracial relationships and there was hints of a homosexual romance. While I may be a little uncomfortable with LGBT content. I think Leila Rasheed did it well. Diamonds and Deceit is a wonderful historical novel full of colorful cast members and bittersweet romance that will keep you captivated. Full of intrigue, drama and a killer ending, it makes me want the third installment so much!! WIth an elegant writing style and plots and subplots that are explored exceedingly well, it is a novel that I'm sure all readers will enjoy! Whether fans of Downton Abbey, or Historical, or not!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Dramatic affairs of the heart, pressures of society, deception, distrust, and a new generation of women who wish to use their brains and be involved in more than teas, sewing and finding a husband. Diamonds and Deceit by Leila Rasheed is dramatic in an “English Society” way, even though there are now phones, etc., society’s ladies still wish to be coddled, pampered and partied. Young women have “seasons” in order to find a suitable match in a husband. Suffering from vapors or “indelicate” conver Dramatic affairs of the heart, pressures of society, deception, distrust, and a new generation of women who wish to use their brains and be involved in more than teas, sewing and finding a husband. Diamonds and Deceit by Leila Rasheed is dramatic in an “English Society” way, even though there are now phones, etc., society’s ladies still wish to be coddled, pampered and partied. Young women have “seasons” in order to find a suitable match in a husband. Suffering from vapors or “indelicate” conversation is enough to make them ill. When forward thinking young women are thrown into the mix, be assured, the society vipers will have their fangs bared. When one of these young ladies was once a simple housemaid until her wealthy father finally adopted her, she finds that no dress, no ball, and none of society’s fair maidens or their mothers will treat her as more than a curiosity. Must she follow the conventions of a world who will not even accept her? Has she changed from the person she one was? Should she follow her heart, as she advises others? Betrayal and deceit at every turn, it would seem her life is worse than before, unless she can find that one person who understands her and encourages her growth. Filled with subplots, twists on top of twists, secret affairs and whispered gossip, Diamonds and Deceit is a journey back in time to formal balls, glittering gowns, dashing young men and marriages made for political or financial reasons. Leila Rasheed has created an interesting soap opera between the covers of this novel, filled with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters that you will either love, hate or feel badly for. Her style feels authentic, without heavily weighing down the story. Wonderful dialogue, beautifully set scenes, intrigue, all wrapped up in a stale that will appeal and is appropriate for the YA audience! I received this ARC edition from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for my honest review. Series: At Somerton, Book 2 Publication Date: January 7, 2014 Publisher: Disney-Hyperion ISBN: 9781423171188 Genre: Historical Romance/YA Number of Pages: 320 Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Review by Beth I read Leila Rashid’s first novel in the At Somerton series in the first half of the year and it didn’t draw me in the way I thought it would. Diamonds and Deceit however captivated me entirely, which doesn’t seem to make much sense but I suppose it’s just one of those things. Rasheed’s wonderful writing style is maintained and you can see every inch of every outfit and the wide spanning ballrooms she describes. Once again Rasheed approaches issues you wouldn’t expect in the early 2 Review by Beth I read Leila Rashid’s first novel in the At Somerton series in the first half of the year and it didn’t draw me in the way I thought it would. Diamonds and Deceit however captivated me entirely, which doesn’t seem to make much sense but I suppose it’s just one of those things. Rasheed’s wonderful writing style is maintained and you can see every inch of every outfit and the wide spanning ballrooms she describes. Once again Rasheed approaches issues you wouldn’t expect in the early 20th century – homosexuality and interracial relationships to name a few. That’s before we get to the standard infidelity and scandal. I love how Rose’s character has blossomed from the first novel and how some of the lesser characters are able to come into their own as key players. Some of the ‘bad guys’ manage to redeem themselves whilst others definitely went down in my estimation. My stand-out favourite character is Alexander – and I’m not usually one to be interested in the leading gentlemen in any story. Despite the misgivings he is much more complex and interesting than any other character we’re introduced to and even when he’s being outright rude and unlikeable I liked him. There was something interesting about this character. Rasheed’s novels have many touches that remind me of Downton Abbey, although I’m not a fan of the show so I enjoyed the novel more than I’ve ever enjoyed it. Rasheed brings in some very contemporary issues which would no doubt have been relevant in the early 20th century but simply not talked about. This makes the novel more accessible to modern readers and adds further thrill to the plot. I enjoy the relationship between the ‘masters’ and the servants and how there is a clear divide with some obvious overlaps – Rose being the most obvious. A great story that gives you the chance to enjoy an early 20th century season with some of the country’s most eligible debutantes. REVIEW BY FFION 8X1 (2013/14) Diamonds and Deceit is the second book in the At Somerton series, in that respect the story picks up from the point the first book ended. The narrative follows Ada, Rose and the Averley family and their estate through numerous society balls, countless luxurious manors and the scandals as they forge their way thorough the minefield of high society. Glimpsing the privilege and restrictions of the wealthy in this era. The writing quickly entangles you in each drama and I felt it gave a true reflection of the very different ways life affected both the upper and lower classes described within Diamonds and Deceit. This is one of those books that I read through in a few days. It’s a nice light read, perfect for relaxing in the sunshine with. the writing style is elegant and consistent, the imagery reminiscent of Downton Abbey :) I loved how the author changed the perspective of the story, it left me guessing as to what would happen next. The pieces of the plot flow perfectly into each other. Not having read the first book in the series left me slightly confused at the beginning, from this perspective I would recommend the series be read in order to fully appreciate the characters and their interactions. It is the characters that really stand out within Diamonds and Deceit, the author has the talent to bring each characters personality to life within the imagination. They are not portrayed as perfect, but come complete with flaws and blemishes. For me the fact that the characters were imperfect aided the story making them more realistic and relatable. There are a lot of loose ends left leaving the plot open ready for the third book, I have to say I actually enjoyed this as it increased my level of anticipation for the progression of the plot. My favourite part of the book was how it was able to weave current feminist issues into the narrative, the ongoing fight for equality. It was really interesting to see the restrictions on women through all levels of society not just the poor. In order to gain the full 5 stars there were areas that I felt could have been improved within the narrative. Firstly, while the multi-person narration does add depth to the story I did feel as if the transition between point of view could have been smoother. Also, aspects of the romance within the plot felt over-used and repetitive, but that is just my personal opinion. Overall, I would say that Diamonds and Deceit is a fantastic read for fans of historical fiction; if you like Downton Abbey or Pride and Prejudice then this is definitely a must read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anna Catharina

    Es ist schon fast fünf Jahre her, dass ich den ersten Band gelesen habe, der mir damals sehr gut gefiel. Der Einstieg in Band 2 war leider schwieriger, besonders die zahlreichen Familienmitglieder und ihre Beziehungen machten mir echt zu schaffen. Die Handlung ist leider auch eher mager und klischeehaft, aber dank kurzer Kapitel las es sich doch flott weg. Alles in allem ganz okay, aber eben nur Durchschnittsware.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aparajitabasu

    Original Link to the review at my blog Le' Grande Codex - here - - - - I'd say this again.I haven't yet had the chance to see Downton Abbey but as with the first, Diamonds & Deceit falls in the category of this period genre...... WHAT AN EXCELLENT SEQUEL IT WAS TOO. There is intrigue. There is fashion. The season. The romance. Of new love and deceit. The conniving ladies hiding behind the social veil of the era. A bitter sweet end to a marriage and unraveling of secrets..... In other words every i Original Link to the review at my blog Le' Grande Codex - here - - - - I'd say this again.I haven't yet had the chance to see Downton Abbey but as with the first, Diamonds & Deceit falls in the category of this period genre...... WHAT AN EXCELLENT SEQUEL IT WAS TOO. There is intrigue. There is fashion. The season. The romance. Of new love and deceit. The conniving ladies hiding behind the social veil of the era. A bitter sweet end to a marriage and unraveling of secrets..... In other words every ingredients it needs to produce an eloquent tale to mark the sequel. Rose has been adopted by Lord Westlake. Ada and Fintan have set the date for marriage. Georgiana must learn to manage the house. Rose catches the eye of a certain Duke of Huntleigh. Ada still has feelings for Ravi, Michael and Priya are about to face the biggest hurdle of them all. Sebastian fights tooth & nail to free Oliver..... and in all turmoil Charlotte has got nothing better to do but scheme and destroy relationships. Suffice to say there are a lot of characters in this book to actually take about elaborating on it but yes the three Westlake sisters, Ada, Georgiana and Ada held much more prominence and improved a whole lot more throughout the course of the book. Ada in a loveless marriage to save the Somerton estate from going bankrupt and her rather attention seeking intended, Lord Fintan. Truth be told, the author proclaims Ada and Ravi together and Fintan and Charlotte but I didn't feel the attraction between the pairs at all. You can see the lust in there..... but love.... no it didn't seem so. I was rather for Ada and Fintan...... They bring out the best of it in each other...... and actually seemed to work together better too. Now Rose. Her struggle to come to terms of her adoption and status as a lady and rise i that position gave a new meaning to the tale. She knows she must mingle but she also knows what the others say of her behind her back... Her encounters with the Duke of Hunteligh proved to be a blessing in disguise. The fit together, and in the sense brought a sort of innocence to the story as well. And I enjoyed reading their escapades. A job well donw by Rasheed. There are not many authors out there who can maintain so many characters in the vicinity of a single book and actually manage to create a coherent tale..... I am definitely excited for a third book. "Of love and sorrow, a sense of entitlement and deceit comes an exquisite sequel you don't want to miss out on"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    4 STARS (I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review). The Westlakes and Templetons are back to finish out the season. Lady Ada has said goodbye to Ravi and has consented to marry Fintan...some day. Rose, the former maid is now Lady Rose. Westlake has finally accepted and adopted Rose as his daughter. Going from a maid to a Lady is not easy for Rose especially when society talks behind her back. Rose has attracted the attention of a Duke - who also has a history with Charlot 4 STARS (I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review). The Westlakes and Templetons are back to finish out the season. Lady Ada has said goodbye to Ravi and has consented to marry Fintan...some day. Rose, the former maid is now Lady Rose. Westlake has finally accepted and adopted Rose as his daughter. Going from a maid to a Lady is not easy for Rose especially when society talks behind her back. Rose has attracted the attention of a Duke - who also has a history with Charlotte. Charlotte afraid she is losing another prospect to the Westlakes kicks up her scheming. Sebastian continues to clear Oliver who is holding back a secret. Michael and Priya are keeping their love quiet but there is a threat coming their way. Georgina is left alone to care for the estate and those living there. As she tries to hold it all down she watches the boy she loves love another. As the season comes to an end the Westlakes and Templetons have to make decisions as their lives changes. The second novel takes up from where the first book ended and we are again on an absorbing ride. We see how the characters either change or don't and the consequences from their decisions. I like the drama, romance and secrets in this novel. it is a soapy book and I like it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    kari

    I felt that this installment was a bit better than the first one. Maybe because I didn't struggle quite so much with the large cast of characters. It did take a little to remember who's who and who belongs where, but then it was smooth sailing. There is a bit more character development in this one, which I felt added not just to the characters but to the overall story. I can understand Charlotte a bit better from knowing more about her, even maybe feel some sympathy for her. She has gone from alm I felt that this installment was a bit better than the first one. Maybe because I didn't struggle quite so much with the large cast of characters. It did take a little to remember who's who and who belongs where, but then it was smooth sailing. There is a bit more character development in this one, which I felt added not just to the characters but to the overall story. I can understand Charlotte a bit better from knowing more about her, even maybe feel some sympathy for her. She has gone from almost a caricature to a fully formed character. The focus of the story is still Ada, the Earl's daughter and his newly adopted(although natural) daughter, Rose. There are two interlaced storylines about the Season where Ada is preparing to marry and Rose is trying to make her way into Society. Neither path is easy and I thought both storylines were believable and each was strong. There are other storylines that are more in the background, but hopefully we will get more of them in future books. The ending wraps up some of the story, but definitely not all. I'd read the next one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Whitehead

    Thank you NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion books for access to this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Oh, fans of Downton Abbey READ THIS BOOK! What a delightful look into many personas, both upstairs and downstairs, and across the cultural divide of status! Rasheed delicately weaves a very readable story together with many characters that we love to hate, and a few we love to love. Despite not reading the first installment of Somerton, I found this book to be interesting, believable, and sad. Thank you NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion books for access to this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Oh, fans of Downton Abbey READ THIS BOOK! What a delightful look into many personas, both upstairs and downstairs, and across the cultural divide of status! Rasheed delicately weaves a very readable story together with many characters that we love to hate, and a few we love to love. Despite not reading the first installment of Somerton, I found this book to be interesting, believable, and sad. It touched upon multiple hard-to-discuss topics (homosexuality, loss of identity, unrequited love, immigration, etc). Very few books, especially YA books, effectively illustrate the cultural hypocrisy of the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy in Great Britain in the post-Victorian era, but Rasheed does this very well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    My motto is, "if I finish it in a day, I should write a review." So here it goes. This book picks up where the first on left off, with Rose, now Lady Rose, Ada, Charlotte and all your favorite characters. Ada is engaged to Lord Fintin, but she still has feelings towards Ravi. Meanwhile, a new man, a duke shows up and is quite enamored by one of the ladies. Oliver, in jail for a crime he didn't commit will do all he can to keep Sebastian's name out of the papers and hide his own secret as well. T My motto is, "if I finish it in a day, I should write a review." So here it goes. This book picks up where the first on left off, with Rose, now Lady Rose, Ada, Charlotte and all your favorite characters. Ada is engaged to Lord Fintin, but she still has feelings towards Ravi. Meanwhile, a new man, a duke shows up and is quite enamored by one of the ladies. Oliver, in jail for a crime he didn't commit will do all he can to keep Sebastian's name out of the papers and hide his own secret as well. This book is just so good. I really recommend it. You'll love some of them and you'll hate some of them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    I don't know why, maybe because it was a bit longer, but Diamonds and Deceit is so much better than the first one. The characters are more complex and more intertwined. The story fitted more all together than the first. I still wish we would know more about Oliver and Sebastian; only a few chapters were devoted to them even if their plot is very interesting. The end is quite good and make up expect for the 3rd book. If you weren't sure about how you felt about Cinders & Sapphires, give a chance I don't know why, maybe because it was a bit longer, but Diamonds and Deceit is so much better than the first one. The characters are more complex and more intertwined. The story fitted more all together than the first. I still wish we would know more about Oliver and Sebastian; only a few chapters were devoted to them even if their plot is very interesting. The end is quite good and make up expect for the 3rd book. If you weren't sure about how you felt about Cinders & Sapphires, give a chance to Diamonds and Deceit before giving up. It was totally worth it for me. Overall, a good historical-YA very alike Downton Abbey.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    A great follow up to Cinders and Sapphires! I really enjoyed the book. Even though there were no real surprises, it was still charming, interesting, descriptive, and engaging. Did it remind me of Downton Abbey? Yes, it did, but I was okay with that:) There are many characters, so it took me awhile to remember who everyone was. But I have to say that although Ada is one of my favorite characters in this series, Rose and Alexander's storyline is what really kept me going. Overall, a very enjoyable A great follow up to Cinders and Sapphires! I really enjoyed the book. Even though there were no real surprises, it was still charming, interesting, descriptive, and engaging. Did it remind me of Downton Abbey? Yes, it did, but I was okay with that:) There are many characters, so it took me awhile to remember who everyone was. But I have to say that although Ada is one of my favorite characters in this series, Rose and Alexander's storyline is what really kept me going. Overall, a very enjoyable book. Looking forward to reading the next one!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Juliane

    Omg, it is again the perfect match of Downton Abbey and Gossip Girl! I couldn't remember much from the first book but a lot came back as I read this one; and also if you don't know the first book at all you can read this easily. I love Ada, I love Rose. Both, their stories are so unique! The end of the book makes you want the third book ASAP! How shall I wait until 2015?! + the German covers are pure cover-love! Omg, it is again the perfect match of Downton Abbey and Gossip Girl! I couldn't remember much from the first book but a lot came back as I read this one; and also if you don't know the first book at all you can read this easily. I love Ada, I love Rose. Both, their stories are so unique! The end of the book makes you want the third book ASAP! How shall I wait until 2015?! + the German covers are pure cover-love!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Finished last night. I did like it but wasn't as hooked as I was when reading the first book in the series as If let at times too much was going on. Very much has a Downton feel to it. Unsure as to there is more in the series. Would be keen to continue if so. Finished last night. I did like it but wasn't as hooked as I was when reading the first book in the series as If let at times too much was going on. Very much has a Downton feel to it. Unsure as to there is more in the series. Would be keen to continue if so.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Sure, I like it. It's very indicative of the story's era and what it might be like (i.e. like Downton Abbey). Characters: Ada Averley continues to be a very likable protagonist; smart and perceptive and kind. I adored her even more for her sisterly affection towards Rose, who suffered at the hands of gossips and uncertainty. If possible, I liked Ada even more in this book. Rose, too, continues to be a very caring girl, very artistic, if not wholly sensible when it comes to Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Sure, I like it. It's very indicative of the story's era and what it might be like (i.e. like Downton Abbey). Characters: Ada Averley continues to be a very likable protagonist; smart and perceptive and kind. I adored her even more for her sisterly affection towards Rose, who suffered at the hands of gossips and uncertainty. If possible, I liked Ada even more in this book. Rose, too, continues to be a very caring girl, very artistic, if not wholly sensible when it comes to Alexander Ross (more on that later). Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, my affection for both Sebastian and Oliver increased as well. I still don't really care for the whole "they're gay" plot, but it doesn't feel like the Author is trying to make a statement, so it didn't bother me too much. The bottom line is Oliver is huggable and adorable and I felt so bad for him. And Sebastian showed his better side in this one. On the other end of the spectrum, I liked Emily Maddox a little less in Diamonds & Deceit, and my affection for Lord Fintan totally vanished. We learned a bit more about some of his little secrets, and it made me dislike him quite a bit. Ravi isn't in Diamonds & Deceit at all, so my opinion of him had no chance to waver or increase. ;-) Georgiana and Michael play a bigger role in Diamonds & Deceit, and it made me like them more. Georgiana fights to be strong and take on her role as chatelaine of Somerton, and Michael is so good to Priya, the Indian nursemaid, that I just adored him. Then there's Alexander Ross. . . .the rake. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his bad reputation isn't as bad as society has made it out to be, and I suspected that from the beginning, so I was prepared to like him. I do love characters who society has painted as rakes, but they really aren't. Alexander mostly falls into that category (he did a few things in his past that weren't totally commendable, but nothing as bad as society has said). I appreciated his disdain for society, their expectations, and his desire to follow his own path. The Romance: I didn't find it as shallow as inCinders & Sapphires, though it's by no means totally heartfelt. Rose hasn't known Alexander long at all before she's head-over-heels for him, despite his reputation. As far as Rose knows, he's as bad as society has declared him; she doesn't find out the truth until much later. Ada continues to struggle with herself over marrying Lord Finton when her heart really belongs to Ravi. Michael and Priya try to determine how to set a life up for themselves without bringing disgrace to the Averley name. And Sebastian and Oliver fight to hide their affections for one another, as a sneaky reporter keeps hanging around, trying to ruin Sebastian's reputation. As if this weren't enough, throw in an old flame between Lord Finton and Charlotte Templeton, and Charlotte's trying to get back at Lord Finton for throwing her over - by making eyes at Alexander Ross. There's also the little matter of Georgiana being in love with Michael. Yes, it's all quite complicated and dramatic, but it's also easy to follow. And it does take up quite a bit of the story - this is Downton Abbey for teens, after all. Plot: Rose Cliffe has been officially acknowledged by Lord Westlake, her father, and now it is the Season and she must be introduced into society. But society isn't so welcoming of a former housemaid, and Rose must fight to claim her place in it as the daughter of an Averley. When Alexander Ross, a highly eligible Scottish duke - with a reputation - starts paying Rose attention, it may just be the notice she needs. But Rose is determined to guard her heart against the undeniable rake, and Charlotte Templeton is determined to not let Rose have him. There's just one problem: Rose is falling for Alexander. Meanwhile, Ada Averley is preparing for her wedding to Lord Finton. This marriage will secure her family's reputation, save Somerton from the reckless spending of Sir William, and will ensure her going to university. But her heart still belongs to Ravi, the Indian Oxford student she fell for long ago. Back at Somerton, Sebastian is fighting to get his valet Oliver released from prison, charged with a murder that Sebastian himself committed. But Oliver won't plead innocent, and with a sneaky reporter poking around, looking to expose Sebastian's greatest secret, he must tread carefully. Never has a Season in London been so filled with drama. And the similarities between Downton Abbey and this series continues! I'm not accusing the Author plagiarism, by the way. Conniving ladies' maids, society drama, and the complications of being a housemaid and wanting to better one's self are all quite realistic themes for the time period, so any Edwardian era novel is going to be similar to one another. But when one's mind has made the connection, it's hard to ignore the similarities. But I still loved this book. There isn't a single character who doesn't have a secret, or who is conniving, or who just has something bad happen to them. Nothing is straight forward; something always complicates it. There's not a dull moment with the Averleys. Between Charlotte's conniving ladies' maid Stella, Charlotte Templeton herself and her horrid mother, Sebastian and Oliver's explosive secret, and Sir William's lecherous behavior towards Priya, there's not a break from it. If there were flatout no likable characters, I don't think even the era would make me like this series as much as I do. But there are characters that I care about. Believability: No complaints. Writing Style: Third person, past tense. It's a very pleasant style, and the narration switches between who it follows, but it isn't confusing. The dialogue is very fitting for the era, too. Content: Sebastian and Oliver are gay. (view spoiler)[It's also implied that Sir William raped Priya (hide spoiler)] Conclusion: Diamonds & Deceit ends with the breakout of WWI. Sounds familiar. But it really would be hard to have a series set in this era and not have it end with WWI starting. There were a few twists in the end I wasn't expecting, and I was also surprised at how wrapped up events are. I actually wondered if this were a duology. It's not; it's a trilogy. My main complaint is that Oliver's trial was too quickly wrapped up. But other than that, it ended just as satisfyingly as it began. Lots of drama in the beginning, lots of drama in the middle, and more drama at the end. Recommended Audience: Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of Downton Abbey and historical fiction.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Justin Neville

    I raced through this Downton-esque trilogy, one book a day. And will post the same review to cover all three of them. I needed some light relief after a few heavy literary endeavours that tried way too hard and didn't quite deliver all that they promised. And light relief is what I got - very light. Yes, the plot developments were completely predictable and - indeed - highly implausible in many respects and characters were far from complex. But the author kept me turning the pages. She had me hook I raced through this Downton-esque trilogy, one book a day. And will post the same review to cover all three of them. I needed some light relief after a few heavy literary endeavours that tried way too hard and didn't quite deliver all that they promised. And light relief is what I got - very light. Yes, the plot developments were completely predictable and - indeed - highly implausible in many respects and characters were far from complex. But the author kept me turning the pages. She had me hooked. If the series had been longer, I'd have carried straight on. I saw all the flaws but soon adjusted my expectations and lapped it up. The third book was the most successful of the series, as the First World War gets underway with life-changing impacts on the characters. One cared a little less beforehand when they were just flitting about London and the countryside with the usual upstairs/downstairs dramas. And one big plus point in the author's favour is that she has delivered a series in this genre way more successfully than the ostensibly much better writer Fay Weldon a few years ago. If you are fortunate enough not to have tried to pick up Ms Weldon's Love and Inheritance trilogy, then keep it that way. Everyone involved in that project should hang their heads in shame - it wasn't even worthy of being called trash.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather Sobek

    Got really good at the end, but that didn’t make up for the beginning and middle being kind of a slog.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    3.5 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    NoRa

    I miss scenes with Ada and Ravi. I’m glad for Rose though. As for Sebastian, I didn’t care for his storyline anymore.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel D.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am really enjoying this series. However, the jump at the end that spanned a whole year was a bit much for me. I would have liked to have read more details about Rose and Huntleigh’s wedding.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    My Thoughts Diamonds & Deceit is the second book in the At Somerton book series (the first being Cinders & Sapphires). This second story picks up where the first left off, it once again sweeps you back in time to the earlier 1900’s. Rasheed picks up weaving the story of the Averley family and their staff in this thrilling estate drama. Once again, we are drawn into the intricacies of the “upstairs” and “downstairs” world and entangled within the dreams, schemes, and scandals as those involved mak My Thoughts Diamonds & Deceit is the second book in the At Somerton book series (the first being Cinders & Sapphires). This second story picks up where the first left off, it once again sweeps you back in time to the earlier 1900’s. Rasheed picks up weaving the story of the Averley family and their staff in this thrilling estate drama. Once again, we are drawn into the intricacies of the “upstairs” and “downstairs” world and entangled within the dreams, schemes, and scandals as those involved make their way forth into a rapidly evolving society and world. This was another light, engaging read that I quickly whipped through in only a day. The story this time focused more on the “upstairs” characters as Rose has now joined their ranks. Rose however is trying to negotiate this change and so we do get a very interesting plotline from that alone. As I’ve said before, I am a huge fan of period piece dramas – so for me this was an excellent read. I loved the whole premise, and how Rasheed seamlessly moved the story from the first book to this one. The story hummed along, and I found myself whisked away to another time with “seasons”, society balls, and exquisite manners. I felt wrapped up in the story and each character’s drama. For fans of historical dramas, English Estate dramas, and of Downton Abbey – this book is for you (but make sure you read Cinders & Sapphires first!). Highlights: I enjoyed a great many things about this story, not the least of which was the fact that it was reminiscent of Downton Abbey. I loved the romance and the time period of the story, and found myself truly invested in a fair few of the characters. I truly enjoyed seeing the growth in a fair number of the characters over the course of the two books. I also loved that Rasheed did not shy away from showing multiple sides to her characters, giving them dreams, wants, needs and most importantly flaws. I like that you could see the good and the bad in the characters, which of course made them feel more realistic and sympathetic. Another highlight for me was the fact that Rasheed chose to have the character focus (and often the place) change from chapter to chapter. I liked seeing and experiencing the world from multiple perspectives, and learning more about each character. This provided a nice flow to the story, pulling me in more and helped me to appreciate each character and to understand each more fully. Finally, I really enjoyed the exploration of relevant world issues of the time: women’s right to vote and to education, the changing roles in society, family dynamics in this time frame, Indian Independence, interracial relationships, etc. I especially enjoyed the exploration of family roles and the implications of a blended family at this time. It was an interesting addition to the plot line around the limitations of women in “high society” at the time and familial duty. Wishes One area that I might make a wish about would be in the transition. While I was able to easily fall into the story and pick up where the last story left off, I think it would be harder for someone who had not just finished the previous book. It might have been nice to have some transitioning/ease in for those who might have gone awhile in between readings and/or is picking this book up to read first. With so many characters and interwoven storylines, I think this would be helpful, even in the form of a few pages of character introductions before the start of the story. Another wish I suppose, might be for more chapters or focus and development on some of the “downstairs” characters. The second book focused primarily on “upstairs” cast, and while it was great, I still would have liked to see and/or hear a bit more from downstairs as well. Overall, I found this to be a delightful read, and I cannot wait for the next installment – so many questions! This book left me wanting more and very sad to leave behind the beautiful world it created. The epilogue gave a few tie ups to lose ends and answers but not nearly enough! It also left us at the start of a war, all I can say is Ms. Rasheed please hurry up and get book 3 out please! If you haven’t had the chance, I would definitely recommend this breezy, splendidly fun read. Recommendations: If you enjoyed this book and are looking for more Historical Drama type reads try: Secondhand Charm – Julie Berry Wildwing – Emily Whitman The American Heiress – Daisy Goodwin Ruby Red – Kerstin Gier Keeping the Castle – Patrice Kindl The Hawk and the Jewel – Lori Wick Rating: 4 out of 5 Doxies – Liked it a lot, definitely worth a read! Jenn Tale of Two Doxies www.taleoftwodoxies.blogspot.com

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrícia

    Opinião do blogue Chaise Longue: http://girlinchaiselongue.blogspot.pt... Casada com um saxofonista dinamarquês, Leila Rasheed tem mestrado em Escrita e Literatura Infantil e está a dar os primeiros passos na literatura juvenil enquanto autora. Metade inglesa, metade bangladeshiana, a autora que queria ser como o Indiana Jones costuma liderar workshops de escrita criativa, critica manuscritos e é mentora de escritoras de ficção infantil e juvenil. Os seus primeiros trabalhos foram três livros infa Opinião do blogue Chaise Longue: http://girlinchaiselongue.blogspot.pt... Casada com um saxofonista dinamarquês, Leila Rasheed tem mestrado em Escrita e Literatura Infantil e está a dar os primeiros passos na literatura juvenil enquanto autora. Metade inglesa, metade bangladeshiana, a autora que queria ser como o Indiana Jones costuma liderar workshops de escrita criativa, critica manuscritos e é mentora de escritoras de ficção infantil e juvenil. Os seus primeiros trabalhos foram três livros infantis mas tem sido com a série At Somerton, uma série juvenil histórica cujo primeiro livro é Cinders & Sapphires, que a autora tem ganho mais fãs. Diamonds & Deceit, o segundo volume, tem publicação marcada para o início de Janeiro. Nesta série, Downton Abbey encontra Princesas de Nova Iorque e, tal como estas não falta drama, escândalos e segredos em Somerton. Depois de um primeiro volume convincente e mesmo viciante foi com expectativa que iniciei este segundo volume e esperava que a autora tivesse emendado as falhas do anterior mas, infelizmente, aconteceu exactamente o oposto. Apesar de Diamonds and Deceit ser uma leitura tão fluída e de tanto entretenimento como Cinders and Sapphires, neste nota-se ainda mais os pontos negativos desta história que a autora em vez de colmatar intensificou ainda mais. O problema não está na sua escrita que se mantém arrojada e directa mas sim na forma como desenvolveu a trama, tendo perdido alguns momentos para brilhar. O enredo perde-se em cenas de pouca importância e o que realmente interessa para a história acaba por nunca aparecer aos olhos do leitor. Muitos momentos importantes são nos apresentados indirectamente, personagens desaparecem sem grande justificação e mesmo as relações entre algumas delas desfazem-se, o que quebra o ritmo da trama e acaba por fazer parecer que certas personagens são apenas meios para chegar a certos fins. Isto acaba por fazer com que a trama se desenvolva a um ritmo bastante incerto e com que apenas três personagens tenham o devido destaque, o que acaba por insatisfazer o leitor que se vê sem saber o que aconteceu ao certo a personagens de que gostou no primeiro livro. Outra coisa que me desiludiu bastante foi o facto de que no primeiro livro a autora apostou em vários temas tabu que davam uma certa profundidade à história e aqui temos basicamente romance, triângulos amorosos e crises existenciais e esses temas são completamente esquecidos. Ora a banalidade que caracteriza este livro não ajuda à sua apreciação e faz com que esta série se torna igual há tantas outras e tira-lhe toda a piada. Contudo, nem tudo é mau. Neste volume a autora tentou dar mais atenção às quezílias entre a criadagem e ao seu papel na sociedade e nas relações com os patrões, não faltando revelações surpreendentes, traições e segredos, só que isso não basta para tornar esta leitura em algo melhor. Havendo personagens que desapareceram do mapa e outras que apenas aparecem para que tornem possíveis certos acontecimentos, houve três que se mantiveram na ribalta e em torno das quais se fez este livro, o que não foi uma jogada muito inteligente. Se Rose continua a ser a personagem mais forte do livro, Ada revelou-se uma desilusão com as atitudes que teve ao longo de todo o livro. Já Charlotte sofre uma grande mudança que não é convincente pois não é de todo gradual e acaba por desfazer o brilho desta personagem. De resto, as personagens foram indiferentes, tirando Lawrence que me irritou durante todo o livro. Por fim, não percebi o epílogo. Passa-se um ano e a única coisa que sabemos é que começou a Primeira Grande Guerra e onde estão quatro personagens. Então e o que aconteceu entretanto? É que o último capítulo termina com grandes mudanças e acabámos por não saber onde ficámos o que é bastante irritante. Assim, Diamond and Deceit foi uma leitura agridoce mais pontuada pela desilusão do que pelo entusiamo, o que me deixa mesmo triste porque o primeiro volume era bastante promissor. Esperemos que a autora desenvolva melhor o último livro porque senão parece-me que esta será uma trilogia entre tantas outras.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alice in Readerland

    This review was originally posted on Alice in Readerland I have so many good things to say about this book! First of all, the prose is just beautiful. I praised the first book in the series, Cinders and Sapphires (At Somerton, #1), for having fairy tale-like quotes, and I was happy to see more of that lovely writing style in this book. Secondly, I love how this book weaves in different elements into the stories, for instance, I’d probably say that this book is historical romance or historical dra This review was originally posted on Alice in Readerland I have so many good things to say about this book! First of all, the prose is just beautiful. I praised the first book in the series, Cinders and Sapphires (At Somerton, #1), for having fairy tale-like quotes, and I was happy to see more of that lovely writing style in this book. Secondly, I love how this book weaves in different elements into the stories, for instance, I’d probably say that this book is historical romance or historical drama, but there’s also a really fun mystery about the “secret” author of a new book and humor scattered throughout the story. There’s also an introduction of some new characters, who I think you all are going to love. (I’d also just like to note that, in the first book, Rose’s story felt a bit like Cinderella meets Downton Abbey to me, which I loved; and this book definitely felt like Cinderella in her new social position dealing with social customs, which I also loved.) But, what I enjoyed the most about this book, and what has made Leila Rasheed become a name on my favorite authors list, is her portrayal of strong, female characters. Here’s the thing: I love those strong, female characters who can physically kick butt. I love picking up YA books and reading about girls who are the same age as me who can fight with a sword or be superheroes. Those characters have been some of my favorite characters. But, I think that so many times we are so focused on their physical feats, that we forget the female characters who have so much inner strength, and the ones who feel so very real. That is what Diamonds and Deceit gives us. This especially stands out to me, considering that this book is set in a strict time period where making an accidental faux pas could have you shunned socially, where women didn’t have much rights, and where a sense of duty was drummed into everyone. For instance, we have Ada. Ada may very will be the definition of keeping a stiff upper lip. Although she’s dealing with her own emotional problems and is forced to deal with petty backstabbers, Ada navigates them with regal ease, manipulating the situation when she has to. As the book brings out, Ada’s veil is not made of silk, it is made of steel that protects her. For her time period, Ada is also very forward-thinking and pro women’s rights. Ada is shown making plans to attend a university and being enthusiastic over an editorial in The Times about the economic argument for women in the professions. We also have the youngest sister, Georgina; while in the first book she was a bit naive, she’s practically had to grow up overnight. I loved her character growth and how she really stepped up to the plate in this book. I could just go on and on about this, but I just love what the author did with the characters. For a time period when it wasn’t the easiest for women, I loved how these characters the author created stood out as so strong to me. Cynical Cindy Says At times, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the many different characters and plot lines, but that did not keep me from enjoying the book any less! Oh, but the cliffhanger in this book! The cliffhanger already has me on the edge of my seat, begging for Book #3. Can I just have Book #3 now? Pretty please? I’d recommend this book for fans of historical novels, for fans of Downton Abbey, or for readers looking for different, yet amazing, strong female characters. See more reviews on Alice in Readerland

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed Grade: B+ Release date: January 7, 2014 This book was an ARC provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review. Summary: 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 Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed Grade: B+ Release date: January 7, 2014 This book was an ARC provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review. Summary: 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 Good: I loved how Charlotte and Georgiana developed as characters. Towards the end, Charlotte has several good moments. Georgiana has grown up quite a bit, and it suits her well. Throughout the book, I worried Celine would turn on Ada and Rose, but she turned out wonderfully. Seeing her in the epilogue was one of my favorite parts. I liked how things turned out for Rose in the end. She truly deserves her happy ending. Throughout the book, I felt like something was off with Lord Fintan, and I hate to say I was right. I was sad with how things ended there, but I think it was for the best. I hope there's at least a third book so we can see how things go for Ada. And once again I adored the dress descriptions. Finally, I think it's cool how elements of the story play into the title (like they did for Cinders & Sapphires). The Bad: Chapters were very short. I think Ms. Rasheed could've combined several, and it would've flowed better. The book felt a bit devoid of any action, just the same social scene over and over again. It's also confusing, hopping between so many different characters' POVs. That works in TV shows and movies, but not very well in books. Lady Emily bothered me; she seemed so nice in the first book, but she seemed bratty and out of character in this one. The Ugly: Mild language, if any. The romance stayed fairly chaste, although there were mentions of Alexander's past encounters, a character is pregnant out of wedlock (which was very scandalous for the times), and the homosexual relationship from the previous book continues over. It was still handled well for the times. The Verdict: It was a good read. I liked the first book better, but this one definitely kept me entertained and I really hope there's a third book (and a fourth and a fifth...) because I want more of the goings-on of the Averleys and Templetons and their servants. Read the full review at: http://bookworm716.blogspot.com/2013/...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    An Edwardian era YA romance, this story is as engaging and captivating as the sagas of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs from the BBC. Set just before the onset of WWI, Leila Rasheed introduces us to a cast of characters, each uniquely poised to present their perspective on London society, marriage, happiness, trust, love and betrayal. I did not read the first in this series, a lack of exposure I am happy to report will be resolved shortly, but this novel did standalone perfectly well and I An Edwardian era YA romance, this story is as engaging and captivating as the sagas of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs from the BBC. Set just before the onset of WWI, Leila Rasheed introduces us to a cast of characters, each uniquely poised to present their perspective on London society, marriage, happiness, trust, love and betrayal. I did not read the first in this series, a lack of exposure I am happy to report will be resolved shortly, but this novel did standalone perfectly well and I found no gaps in my understanding of the story. Several characters are introduced throughout the story, some stay longer than others, and some impact the events and outcomes for better or worse. With a curious mix of points of view and voices from each character contributing to the plot and flow, the story feels overwhelming at first, but quickly the unique voices and solid personalities of the characters becomes evident and sorts them out clearly in the reader’s mind. Most of the younger women in this story are caught in the crossroads: their older mama’s and papa’s are raising them to be the coddled and cosseted decorations for their husband’s arms. But, times are changing; women are asking for the vote and more personal freedoms, the age of the big houses and society’s stranglehold on the economy of England are starting to wane. War is imminent, even as most of the characters are unaware of the rumblings in Europe, and the younger members in the service staff for the house have more opportunities are available than even a year or two before. Society and technology are changing, and members of society need change too. But, from the whirl of balls and debuts, even the ‘right’ connections isn’t always enough to guarantee a smooth entrance in society. Rose’s father, a Lord, has finally adopted her and she is ready to present in society. A harder early life, she can’t help but see the duplicitous behaviour above and below stairs regarding her appearance. While men were far more able to withstand the pressures of societal constraint, they too could damage a young woman’s reputation. Unfortunately, adding to Rose’s difficulties with the gossips and others of the ton, her friendship with Alexander, a reputed rake with a name tainted by scandal. Add to this another character who is engaged to a solid man, but not in love, yet needing the alliance to save her family from the poorhouse. Mix in a servant wrongly accused of a murder done by his master who happens to be the man who loves him, and a reporter that is coming all too close to that scandalous truth and the fun just never ends in this story. This is a wonderful story to introduce a teen reader to the joys of historic romance, with both language and sexual content leaning to the sweeter side, as befits the era in which the story is set. Several characters fall into the ‘love them or hate them’ categories, and there are enough moments and twists to keep a reader engaged as they follow the story to the end. Descriptions are lush and precise, and the feel of the early 20th century is solid and visceral for all readers. A completely solid series with, I hope, yet more to come. I received an eBook copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Rose is struggling with her new role as a Lady in this second book of the Somterton series. Being adopted by her father, she moves up in status, but is still at a loss of how to handle her new life style. All of her friends are the maids she once worked with, and now it is unacceptable for her to be friendly with them. She also finds herself attracted to the wealthy Alexander Ross, the Duke of Huntleigh. Ada is engaged to Laurence AKA Lord Finton, but her heart belongs to Ravi, the Indian studen Rose is struggling with her new role as a Lady in this second book of the Somterton series. Being adopted by her father, she moves up in status, but is still at a loss of how to handle her new life style. All of her friends are the maids she once worked with, and now it is unacceptable for her to be friendly with them. She also finds herself attracted to the wealthy Alexander Ross, the Duke of Huntleigh. Ada is engaged to Laurence AKA Lord Finton, but her heart belongs to Ravi, the Indian student she met while traveling home from India. Lord has his own issues to work through since he seems to have trouble staying away from Ada's step-sister, Charlotte. Sebastian is heartbroken with his love, Oliver, in jail for a crime he did not commit. Michael is in love with the nurse maid, Priya, a beautiful Indian woman. Annie, a housemaid that was once close to Rose, wishes to be Rose's lady's maid. Only she thinks this is her ticket to a higher social status. So many stories take place throughout this series. I had my favorites, one being Rose. I really like this rags to riches character, and I appreciate her struggles with her sudden rise in class. She has a good heart, but is also on honest person. I feel she is the strongest character of them all. I also like Ada, although at times she annoyed me with her decision to marry Lord Fintan, but then again, what else could she really do given the time period and her desire to continue her education. She also had to consider that her father's heir, Cousin William, had a severe gambling problem and was blowing the family's money. Her marriage to Lord Fintan would solve the households financial problems. I liked Sebastian's character, although he was not in this story as much as I had hoped for. I liked the forbidden love with interracial couples that the author brought into the story with Ravi and Ada and then again with Michael and Priya. During this time, it was simply not accepted. While Michael is back in school he asks Georgiana to keep an eye on Priya. There were rumors that William was not keeping his hands to himself. What story is not complete without those characters you love to hate. Oh Charlotte, I did not like her, but in this book we saw a little more of her. She was shocked when Ada had the chance to destroy her reputation, and Ad actually covered for her, leaving Charlotte to rethink one of her many schemes. I am almost wondering if we will see a whole new reformed Charlotte in the third book. Although there were several scenes in the book where I wanted to smack Charlotte for being such a brat! People can change and learn from their pasts. Annie, the housemaid, was simply an annoyance. She claimed to be Rose's dear friend, yet the only thing she seemed to attempt to get from Rose is status for herself. It was all about what Rose could do for Annie, not once was Annie being a considerate friend in return. Another book full of scandal and cover-ups, lies and half-truths. I flew through this book and am eager to read the final installment. I did find the beginning to drag on for a bit, but once it got into the meat of the story, it held my interest. I am frustrated to learn it is only available through e-readers. I love reading an actual book, but I suppose I can suffer to read the final book after the cliffhanger of this one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cayla

    I feel like three stars is being too generous for this book (for reasons I'll disclose), but it would be a lie to say I wasn't interested and engaged while reading it. I was. I think the author did a really great job with the pacing, and I enjoyed all the different perspectives (I've noticed multiple POVs are a turn-off for lots of YA readers nowadays, but I usually prefer them). I read this book in two days and, at 400+ pages, that says something. However, there were also MANY things that I didn I feel like three stars is being too generous for this book (for reasons I'll disclose), but it would be a lie to say I wasn't interested and engaged while reading it. I was. I think the author did a really great job with the pacing, and I enjoyed all the different perspectives (I've noticed multiple POVs are a turn-off for lots of YA readers nowadays, but I usually prefer them). I read this book in two days and, at 400+ pages, that says something. However, there were also MANY things that I didn't like about Diamonds and Deceit, which almost made me rate it two stars. My largest complaint may be predictable: I watch Downton Abbey and you'd have to be blind to not make comparisons. This is not so much me defending Downton as much as it is me complaining about copy-cats in general. I get that once Downton made the Edwardian Era big lots of authors jumped on the bandwagon. That's to be expected, and I can't really fault the author for that. What I can fault is how many ideas, character goals, and plot arcs she basically copy-pastes from the show: some even where they don't seem to make much sense (view spoiler)[ Priya being raped by William was hinted at in the first book, but it seemed to come out of NOWHERE in this one and then BAM she was pregnant, wandering the streets, and then dead - it all seemed very slapped together (hide spoiler)] Call me whatever you like, but when I read a book that seems to rely more on someone else's ideas than the author's own, it bugs me. I am also not a fan of Sebastian and Oliver's relationship. Firstly, because nearly their whole arc in this book was borrowed, again, very heavily from Downton, but it also just seemed so...purposeless to the rest of the story. It always annoys me when homosexual characters are thrown into books just to be there - to make the book 'relevant' - and honestly that's what it feels like is happening here. Oliver and Sebastian's arc doesn't take up a lot of the page count, but they seem like such weak characters that add very little to the overall plotline. Now that my large rant is out of the way, let me tell you what I did like. :D As I said, the pacing was really good - there were almost no boring moments - and there was plenty of interest to go around. I was heartened to see the character development in Charlotte, which made her character a little more 3D than the typical 'mean, conniving sister' figure. I continue to like Georgie as a character (she remains kind and sensible and overall very sympathetic) and I also liked Celine in this installment, and was pleased by her success at the end of the story. Although I'm not sure it was really necessary to the plot, I actually liked the revelation made about Ms. Cliffe near the end, as well. I will pick up the third book in the series, and here's to hoping that the author branches out from Downton Abbey and really makes it her own. :) Content: D--n: 6. One use of the Lord's name in vain. Otherwise, some kisses (a few on the neck) and caresses. None of it's too steamy. As noted, two characters are homosexual and it's implied that a character is raped. Lord Huntleigh is said to have a rather philandering history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leeanna

    This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me. == CINDERS & SAPPHIRES , the first book in the At Somerton series, was one of my favorite reads of 2013. I think DIAMONDS & DECEIT will be one of my favorite books of 2014. If you like Downton Abbey, or historical fiction, there’s a good chance you’ll like this series. DIAMONDS & DECEIT is just fun. Even though I’ve read it, I keep returning to it and rereading. The author has a way of sucking me into the lives of the Averleys and thei This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me. == CINDERS & SAPPHIRES , the first book in the At Somerton series, was one of my favorite reads of 2013. I think DIAMONDS & DECEIT will be one of my favorite books of 2014. If you like Downton Abbey, or historical fiction, there’s a good chance you’ll like this series. DIAMONDS & DECEIT is just fun. Even though I’ve read it, I keep returning to it and rereading. The author has a way of sucking me into the lives of the Averleys and their servants, including all the drama, shocks, and romances they experience during the London season. Usually I don’t eat up that sort of thing so easily, but Leila Rasheed just sucks me in. I’m addicted! I feel like a lot more happens in this book than in CINDERS & SAPPHIRES. I might actually like DIAMONDS & DECEIT better, which is unusual for me because usually the first of a trilogy is my favorite. As for what happens? Ada and Laurence’s engagement moves forward, Oliver has his trial, Georgiana tries to run Somerton, Rose tries to fit into society, Charlotte has more of a personality … and so on. Rose is still my favorite character. She’s in a hard position, neither fully upstairs or downstairs. If you remember, at the end of book one, it was revealed that she’s Lord Westlake’s illegitimate daughter. Now recognized as one of the family, she struggles to fit into society, but is reminded constantly of where she came from. I like how she questions the new life she has, wondering if it’s really worth it. Rose falls hard for the Duke of Huntleigh, who has quite the reputation for scandalous behavior. But in contrast to Laurence, Ada’s fiancé, is he really that bad? Yet another opportunity to think about society and how it was changing in the 1900s. And oh man, that ending! I have GOT to get my hands on the last book in the trilogy, but until then, I’ll be content to reread DIAMONDS & DECEIT because I enjoyed it that much. == Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. See more of my reviews:

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book gave me major, MAJOR feels. Okay, so first there's Michael and Priya. I figured I should address that first. At first, I was mad, because when had they even become an item, unofficially? I learned to just go with the flow...AND I GOT MY HEART RIPPED IN HALF, but that's okay because that happens quite often. There were honestly too many ships in this world to keep track of. I mean, Laurence and Ada, Alexander and Rose, Laurence and Charlotte, Alexander and Charlotte, Oliver and Sebasti This book gave me major, MAJOR feels. Okay, so first there's Michael and Priya. I figured I should address that first. At first, I was mad, because when had they even become an item, unofficially? I learned to just go with the flow...AND I GOT MY HEART RIPPED IN HALF, but that's okay because that happens quite often. There were honestly too many ships in this world to keep track of. I mean, Laurence and Ada, Alexander and Rose, Laurence and Charlotte, Alexander and Charlotte, Oliver and Sebastion, Ada and Ravi-this love thing is like a quadratic formula. So, yeah, I enjoyed it, but it also made my head spin at times. I liked how they are bringing in WW1 and not completely ignoring the topic, since I wondered in the first book if they would do that. It would have been somewhat easy to gloss over the topic; Rasheed makes it a plot device for the next book. I love it. Go history, man! I also liked how the characters were believable. They said one thing, did another. They tried to be good and pure by society's standards, and sometimes they came up short. They were human. They were simply believable characters that I could see myself being friends with. What I didn't like: Rasheed's awful punctuation. Maybe it's not very important to the book itself, but do you know how many misplaced commas I found?! I suppose it's more of my own personal pet peeve than anything, but still. Commas have their own place, and they stay there. End of story. Besides that, I hated how perfectly-yet-imperfectly everything seemed to work out. Allow me to explain. I hate how there are only one or two new characters. It's stated quite clearly how big of a city London is, and there are three stories going on at once. I feel like there should be some new characters instead of old characters, like Annie and Stella, being tossed in the microwave, so to speak, to make things seem interesting. I liked, however, how not everything worked out perfectly. More than once, I groaned, only because the characters got themselves into such a mess I don't know how they were going to get out of it. I love it when that happens. The book itself ended on a cliffhanger, yes, but like everything in the book, it was appropriate to its time and place. Not once did I feel like that it would have been too outlandish for high-society England in the early 1900s (warning, I'm no expert, however!). Overall, I highly recommend for fans of historical fiction and/or romance novels. This book has enough to keep you interested, with also enough filler to make you sit back and enjoy it once in a while.

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