Title: Diamonds & Deceit
Author: Leila Rasheed
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA, Historical Drama
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!).
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.
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.
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
4 out of 5 Doxies – Liked it a lot, definitely worth a read!
Tale of Two Doxies