Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Review: Silent In The Sanctuary

Author: Deanna Raybourn
Title: Silent In The Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery
Publish Date: Jan 2008
Publisher: Mira
Rating:  5 stars
Book Blurb: Left homeless by fire, wealthy widow Lady Julia Grey has been recuperating in Italy. With Christmas approaching, Julia returns to England, where she joins her large and eccentric family at their equally large and eccentric ancestral estate, a former monastery that retains some monkish ghosts. Nicholas Brisbane, a private enquiry agent with whom Julia has shared both a heated embrace and a stint at detection, is among the holiday houseguests, and to Julia's astonishment Brisbane is in line for a title and engaged. Then a local curate is murdered in the former church sanctuary, and a set of priceless pearls goes missing. Headstrong and clever Julia joins Brisbane in investigating the crimes, deciphering his personal situation in the process. Readers may wish for a bit more romantic development, but the complex mystery, a delightfully odd collection of characters and deft period details produce a rich and funny read.

Review:  Silent In The Sanctuary is the 2nd Lady Grey mystery and it is one of those books that you must savor while you read. Deanna Raybourn creates a cast of characters that draws the reader in and they soon become old friends.

Lady Julia is probably one of the most unique female characters in women's fiction. She's strong, but ultimately she's not altogehter likable, sometimes she's maddeningly unlikable, but she knows her own mind and she doesn't slink to the background to let the men takeover and for that alone, Lady Julia receives props! Especially as the other characters around her are equally as strong, especially her quasi love interest, Nicholas Brisbane. Her dislike of dogs was one bone of contention I had with Julia. I truly wanted Florence to bite her for her meanness at times.

The story starts out slowly as Julia and her brothers are in Italy. They are summonded back to their English home by their father, who wishes to my Lysander's new wife Violante.

Even when they arrive home, there's not a lot of action but there is a bit of jealousy. Nicholas Brisbane is there and with him is his betrothed. It was a good thing that Julia and her brothers decided to bring the handsome Italian Alessandro home to England. 

The story moves at a snails pace until one of the guests is discovered murdered and Julia's cousin Lucy confesses to the murder.  That's when things get moving. Julia's father decides that she should help Brisbane uncover the truth about the killing and they do learn that Lucy is not the killer, but while doing that they also catch another theif.

There's quite a lot going on between the characters, with little sub-plots here and there and relationships tangling up. That's what really makes this book so engrossing. The petty jealousies between family members that turn into much more, love lost and perhaps found, but most of all the devotion of family, where one will do most anything for another. Deanna's characters are real and the story will leave you longing for the next installment!

Towards the end of the book, Julia gets to be a little bit more maddening, especially with her dealings with Aunt Dorcas.  The lady certainly tried to take the law into her hands, but the circumstances made it seem like the right thing to do, especially in  her case.

All the loose ends get tied up nicely by the time the last page is turned and you'll be reaching for Silent On The Moor instantly!

Best Quote: "Life is either far too short or far too long to make yourself miserable" Lady Julia to Alessandro


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