Friday, 27 April 2012

Silent on the Moor

Author: Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Type: Kindle e-book
Series: 3rd book in the Lady Julia Grey series
Series Order:
  1. Silent in the Grave (2006)
  2. Silent in the Sanctuary (2008)
  3. Silent on the Moor (2009)
  4. Dark Road to Darjeeling (2010)
  5. The Dark Inquiry (2011)
First Line: "Julia Grey, I would rather see you hanged than watch any sister of mine go haring off after a man who will not have her," my brother Bellmont raged."

Synopsis:  Lady Julia Grey has never been one to sit back and let things happen at their own pace.  Especially when it comes to Nicholas Brisbane.  He's been holed up in his new Yorkshire estate, Grimsgrave Hall, without even a word to poor Julia.  This does not sit well with Julia so, against social protocol, Julia decides to pay him a surprise visit.

Her sister Portia has been asked by Brisbane to help organize his new household but she was given strict and clear instructions that Julia was not to tag along.  Never one to enjoy being told what to do, Portia invites Julia to come with her onto the moors of England (along with their reluctant brother Valerius) hoping to find out, once and for all, how Brisbane feels about her.

When the trio arrive at Grimsgrave it's to find that Brisbane's new home is in total disrepair.  They are greeted by the inhabitants of Grimsgrave.  The slightly sinister and quite odd Allenby women -- quiet Ailith, obstinate Hilda and their religious mother, Lady Allenby.  Grimsgrave has been in the Allenby family since Saxon times - a fact that every Allenby will proudly tell you.  Since their eccentric (and now deceased) Egyptomologist brother, Sir Redwall, lost everything they had to sell their beloved family home.  After buying the estate Brisbane has  begrudgingly allowed them to stay on at the estate as staff.

When Brisbane sees that Julia has come against his clearly expressed wishes he voices his displeasure to Julia.  Since Brisbane will have nothing to do with Julia, she decides to bide her time in his bleak home going through the late Sir Redwalls fascinating Egyptian finds.  It doesn't take long for Julia to unearth some gruesome family secrets as well as find out some of Brisbane's personal secrets along the way.

My Thoughts:  As I mentioned above, this is the third book in the Lady Julia Grey historical mystery series.  Unfortunately, if you base whether or not you think you'll like a book based on the cover you may not pick this one up ... unless you're an avid romance reader.  Personally, I'm not a romance book lover and cannot understand why the publisher chose a cover that more ressembles a 'bodice-ripper' than a historical mystery picture.  Bottom line -- ignore the cover and start reading this series.

Like the previous two books in this series the pace of this mystery is slower than you'd expect.  Many mysteries are pretty quickly paced but Raybourn takes her time delving into the mystery.  Instead, she chooses to first let the reader learn more about her characters (who often have a refreshing quirkiness to them) as well as detailed descriptions of the English moors and Brisbane's new gothic home that play important roles in this book. 

While Raybourn continues to bring eccentric characters into her books I really missed seeing a lot of Julia's family.  They have lovely banter between them which reminds me a little of my quirky family which sets them apart from the typical family of that time.  Portia, Julia's older sister, is one of my favourite characters but she, sadly, wasn't used in the storyline as much as I would have liked.

Julia continues to be a good main character whose feelings and thoughts make her more of a modern thinker than her counterparts. She's not afraid to put her pride on the line in order to find out where she stands with Brisbane. 

As for Brisbane?  To me he came off as a bit of an ass. Yes, he's fighting his feelings for Julia but I think he goes overboard. I wouldn't stand for his attitude or behaviour. The way Lady Julia puts up with his petulance could either be sees as 1) true love or 2) that Lady Julia needs to take a stand and stop being more than a little needy. I'm kind of in the middle of those two points.  Raybourn walks a very fine line with this relationship. At times I believe that it strayed into both views with the second view being irritating to me since over the past two books Julia has been portrayed as a strong, independent woman. Yet she puts up with his rudeness and outright verbal abuse? 

I will admit that I loved learning more about the mysterious Brisbane (even if he got on my nerves a bit). He's a hot-headed and sometimes infuriating male lead but yet I still like him. You know that he loves Julia but why does he keep pushing her away? He's dealing with his own demons and I'm eager to see how he handles that.

In the end I have to admit that I do enjoy that Julia and Brisbane's relationship isn't an easy one.  Raybourn has crafted interesting reasons for keeping the couple apart ... as well as together.  I'm intrigued by how the new twist will effect their relationship.  You know that Brisbane loves her but WHY is he holding back. It's that kind of back and forth that keeps me interested. 

I recommend this series but start with "Silent in the Grave" first.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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