At Somerton, Book Two
By Leila Rasheed
Available now from
At Somerton is a series clearly designed to capture the Downton Abbey crowd. And it does a good job of it -- Leila Rasheed both has a wonderful writing style and combines the soap opera-type plot with issues relevant to the time and today like women's suffrage, Indian independence, interracial relationships, and gay relationships. While DIAMONDS & DECEIT was as fun as CINDERS & SAPPHIRES, it had a tendency to focus on the least interesting on-going plots.
Most of the attention is on Rose and Ada. Rose has her true parentage revealed, leading to a difficult Cinderella story. Ada is still in love with Ravi, who she's had approximately three five-minute meetings in private with, but intends to marry Lord Fintan. Meanwhile, less attention is given to Sebastian trying to prevent Oliver from hanging for murder, Priya trying to avoid the attentions of her employer and falling in love with Michael, and there's much less focus on the servants than there was in the first book. That perspective still exists, but it could use more focus.
I do, however, love the changing points of view. Even the least likeable characters, such as Stella Ward, get some sympathetic development. I do think that Sebastian felt a little off. Obviously, something huge happened at the end of the last novel, but he goes from one extreme to the other in his personal life. He doesn't just change, he changes. The other characters felt more steady between the two novels.
I must admit, the ending had me thinking Rasheed was going to wrap everything up in just two books! (Which might not be a terrible thing, because ugh neverending series and the Downton Abbey craze is fading.) But there are plenty of hooks from the next book, in addition to a baffling one-year later epilogue that only says anything about the most settled character. However, the epilogue also brings the story to WWI!
I enjoy this series. DIAMONDS & DECEIT and its predecessor are extremely fun to read, plus they explore a period of history that's under-served by both young adult and romance novels. I felt like the plot of DIAMONDS & DECEIT lacked a little, especially since so many interesting stories were right there, but it still went by so nicely that I'm sure to read the third At Somerton book.