Victoria Alexander's The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl was positively a delight to read. It was quirky and fun and definitely a new twist on a much loved genre.
Blurb: Harry Armstrong has spent years in Egypt, recovering relics and disregarding rules. Now he’s back in England with a new title and a new purpose: penning his exploits. But his efforts are overshadowed by London’s favorite writer about Egypt—a woman they call The Queen of the Desert, of all things. Worse, her stories—serialized in newspapers and reprinted in books—are complete rubbish.
Miss Sidney Honeywell didn’t set out to deceive anyone. It’s not her fault readers assumed her Tales of a Lady Adventurer in Egypt were real! Admitting her inadvertent deception now would destroy her reputation and her livelihood. But when the Earl of Brenton challenges her to travel to Egypt to prove her expertise, accompanied by his dashing, arrogant nephew, what choice does she have but to pack her bags?
With the matchmaking founders of the Lady Travelers Society in tow, Harry is determined to expose Sidney’s secret. But the truth might not be as great a revelation as discovering that love can strike even the most stubborn of hearts.
Review: I love a battle of wits and wills between my hero and heroine. There's nothing more entertaining than watching two people try to outsmart one another. And what a strange situation our hero and heroine find them in; traipsing around Egypt trying to keep their secrets secret.
Usually our heroines are the voices of reasons among historical novels. They're often keeping heroes from flying off the rails or turning rakes and rogues into gentleman (mostly). But Sidney isn't an innocent young woman, she's living a lie... a lie that gets bigger every day. She was the one deceiving our hero and it was quite exciting to watch her scheme and plot--with help from her aging friends.
Harry is the voice of reason within this book. He calls it like he sees it and he sees a fraud. But it's not righteousness that has Harry calling fraud, but rather jealousy, which was an interesting spin for the entire story. I rather liked Harry as a hero, though he wasn't like any hero I'd read about before. He made a million and one mistakes, but was also full of wisdom and utterly ridiculous, borderline insulting comments. Aren't all men, though?
I absolutely loved that the novel took place mostly within the borders of Egypt. I was such a fan of the sprinkling of Egyptian facts throughout the novel. I learned so much about the pyramids and the culture and Egypt during the 1800s. It was really quite an informative romance novel.
The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with a Earl moved quickly and had many subplots. I found myself constantly on edge wondering who were the bad guys and who were the good guys. Everyone was shrouded in suspicion. It was really a very tense read at points. Overall I really enjoyed the read. Those who are fans of The Mummy franchise will certainly find it fascinating. Those who are tired of the same old-same old historicals will find it a breath of fresh air.
Click here to pre-order. It's out November 20th!