Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily Mysteries, Book 4)

Tears of Pearl - Tasha Alexander Oh my... what a bittersweet book! I'm anxious to get to #5 to see how we go from here. Will Lady Emily ever be able to conceive, bear a child to full-term, and have a healthy birth where both mother & child recover and live?As amazing as this book is, I alternated between frustration and anger at Emily and understanding. Frustration/anger because she almost returned to her overly independent ways. Margaret calls it "fierce independence", and that's what it is. The prospect of already being with child seems to terrify Emily. But why? Because she fears childbirth or because she fears no longer being Colin's partner in solving intrigues for the Crown? And yet... understanding, because Emily has FINALLY gotten what her heart desires: a loving, handsome, smart husband who has faith enough in her to allow/want her to partner with him -- a loving marriage AND her independence... and as close to a career as she'll ever get. She's not sitting at home on the sidelines -- she's in the action, close to Colin's side. So yes, I can see both sides of her dilemma. And I suppose that the early stages of pregnancy (hormones, etc) would do things to one's emotions and thinking.... I'm just so sad that it all had to come at this particular time.Again, the mystery of Whodunnit, for me, isn't the issue. The Who is rather obvious, but again, Ms. Alexander crafts a well-told suspense/mystery tale. It's simply that I'm such a mystery buff, it's almost impossible to fool me. But here's why I keep reading: Because despite knowing the Who, Ms. Alexander carefully doles out the clues as to how and why. She's not stingy and keeps one or more vital clues to herself; no, she allows Lady Emily to discover those vital clues in time to form a plan to trap the Who. OK, so the trapping takes place virtually at the end of the book... and yet, it feels organic - right. Not as though the author is trying to wrap everything up in the last 5 pages. There's enough detail and story provided that it's a satisfying ending. Well, at least satisfying as to the mystery.The end of this book left me wanting to weep with Emily and Colin. Thankful that Ivy is safely delivered of a baby girl, and awed at the tenderness with which Colin pays off his debt (as part of their bet) by swimming the Bosphorus.Once again, well-drawn characters and situations that fall cleverly and wonderfully within the time period and place. Descriptions that make you SEE your surroundings and appreciate them -- you almost smell the flowers... experience the harem bath... see the grandeur. You experience the disparity between the falling/failing Ottoman empire and the "modern" world.Delighted to have Margaret play a role in this book. It was necessary for someone to be at Emily's side when Colin couldn't be. And Margaret was just the right choice. She asked herself and Emily just the right questions. And Margaret's conclusions shocked even herself -- but it was a necessary part of her character development, and I believe, Emily's, to see that being fiercely independent isn't always beneficial to one's well-being or one's love life. And that women will always be women -- with the joys and burdens of being a wife and mother -- in addition to any career or interests that we might pursue. It might not be fair. But it is life. Choices are part of life, and the way we face those difficult choices say so much about who we are. It's not about giving up anything; it's simply about recognizing the fallacy of having everything we want or dream all the time.I'm sad to be catching up to the last 2 books... because it means that I'll be waiting for that next book (2012) to come out. And I hate waiting!