I’m not going to go into great detail about the novel…not wanting to spoil the story. After the murder of her husband and almost losing her own life in the subsequent investigation of the murder with private inquiry agent, Nicholas Brisbane, Lady Julia Grey is recovering in Italy with her brothers Plum and Lysander. At the summons of their father, they return home to England for Christmas and the seat of the March family, the very gothic Bellmont Abbey. Accompanying them on the journey is the young Count Alessandro Fornacci, who has developed a passion for Julia but does Julia return the sentiment? Her relationship with Brisbane complex and disturbing, Julia is not quite sure of her regard for him and in the four months she has been in Italy she has not heard one word from him…no sooner have the Marches arrived at the Abbey and Julia is introduced to Brisbane, now Lord Wargrave, and his fiancé Mrs. Charlotte King. Of course then there is murder and Julia and Brisbane are thrown together again to investigate.
There are not many characters I have encountered in novels that have the taut chemistry that Raybourn has created with Nicholas Brisbane and Lady Julia Grey…they are individuals in their own right and we get to learn many fascinating facets of their personalities. Raybourn as well has a talent for dialogue…varying at times biting, witty, playful, sarcastic, emotional, etc., each character having their own distinct voice.
I am confused about the switching of formats and cover art between Silent in the Grave HC/MMP and Silent in the Sanctuary HC to the change in the MMP version. Now SITS MMP has a similar cover to the upcoming TP release of Silent on the Moor (March 1, 2009). I wish cover art for series books could be kept consistent…they look so much nicer on your shelves! I suppose the publisher is trying to attract romance fans but I don’t think the series can be classified as romance (yet), so why change the covers?
You can find my review of Silent in the Grave here. This is a great series and next I will be reading Silent on the Moor, an ARC given to me by Marcia at The Printed Page. If you like Victorian or Regency mysteries, I would also recommend Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily Ashton series (And Only to Deceive, A Poisoned Season and A Fatal Waltz). Try A Whisper in the Dark by Louise May Alcott and The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield for gothic overtones.
My Rating: 4.5