February 12, 2009

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

Marcia at The Printed Page passed along her ARC copy of Silent on the Moor to me. Thank You! Despite his admonitions to stay away, Lady Julia arrives in Yorkshire to find Brisbane as remote and maddeningly attractive as ever. Cloistered together, they share the moldering house with the proud but impoverished remnants of an ancient family—the sort that keeps their bloodline pure and their secrets close. Lady Allenby and her daughters, dependent upon Brisbane and devastated by their fall in society, seem adrift on the moor winds, powerless to change their fortunes. But poison does not discriminate between classes…. A mystery unfolds from the rotten heart of Grimsgrave, one Lady Julia may have to solve alone, as Brisbane appears inextricably tangled in its heinous twists and turns. But blood will out, and before spring touches the craggy northern landscape, Lady Julia will have uncovered a Gypsy witch, a dark rider and a long-buried legacy of malevolence and evil. I’ve been having a difficult time getting motivated to write this review…I think mostly because I’m sad to see an end to the vibrant, charismatic characters of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane. The last installment of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mystery novels, Silent on the Moor is a compelling and very, very satisfying denouement to the story of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane. Raybourn could have chosen to write a more straightforward story and I’m sure I would have been pleased but SOTM is so much more and I would venture to say the most complex out of the three novels. This novel has everything anyone would require for a great story…eccentric characters, multi-layered twisting plotlines, an evocative setting - mysterious and ancient mansion on the moor, historical detail, multiple secrets…and multiple deaths. Accompanying Julia to Grimsgrave is her sister Portia, her brother Valerious and their pets Florence, Puggy and Grim. After a tedious journey, Lady Julia hopes to be welcomed but their arrival falls quite short of expectations: Brisbane is temperamental and reticent, there are three poverty-stricken ladies in residence and the mansion is decrepit and full of secrets, with room after room empty - all except for a study full of dubious Egyptian artifacts. Lady Julia is determined to investigate why Brisbane gave up the reward of a gentleman’s title for the purchase of Grimsgrave, and as she unravels the mystery more questions arise. Lady Julia is finally coming into her own, determined to go after what she wants, Nicholas Brisbane. What I appreciate about Raybourn’s stories is that she creates relationships between characters and finds it unnecessary to go into explicit detail about their intimacy. Raybourn creates passion, tension, chemistry and yearning using dialogue, emotion and restrained expression not physical action. A true talent! A little longer than the previous two novels, in SOTM Raybourn stays true to her writing style and although each book stands on its own they form a cohesive whole…not always easy for authors writing series. I strongly recommend reading the novels in order, as there are storylines following back to the first novel, resolved in SOTM. For each chapter in each book there is a quote by bard summarizing the chapter (that must have been a lot of research), my favourite being the quote for the last chapter in Silent on the Moor…but you will have to read it to find out!

***Note I saw posted on Deanna Raybourn's blog that she plans on a fourth installment to the series.

My Rating: 4.5

Silent in the Sanctuary Silent in the Grave Chapters Amazon


  1. Really, really awesome review! I have this ARC as well sitting on my shelf, so patiently...I hope patiently, cause I still haven't read the first two in the series! These books just got bumped up to the top of my list - I've read such great things about them and you sealed it! I also became a follower of her blog, so thanks for the link too!

  2. Raybourn has such a unique viewpoint and her writing style comes across in her blog. She is working on another novel before she writes the fourth installment to the series...a long wait and I'm already impatient! Amy I'm interested in what you think about the series...look forward to your review.