I’ve enjoyed reading Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries. Not only has Raybourn created two appealing main characters in Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane, but she also has provided a seemingly limitless cast of characters within Lady Julia’s family: her father, her sister Portia, and her many other siblings.
The first book in the series, Silent in the Grave, involves the death of Lady Julia’s husband. Turns out-big surprise-he was murdered. Brisbane, whom her husband had consulted prior to his death, reluctantly steps in to help solve the mystery. He and Lady Julia have an adversarial relationship as well as a strong attraction to each other. Turns out Lady Julia’s marriage was not a happy one, so falling for another man so soon after her husband’s death is easily forgiven. The mystery is intriguing, and the murderer turns out to be someone you’d least suspect.
The next book, Silent in the Sanctuary, though featuring many of the same characters, had a less plausible mystery, with too many threads to be untangled. The big shocker occurs early, when Lady Julia arrives at her family home after a prolonged stay in Italy and finds Brisbane there. Not only there, but engaged to another woman. That certainly made me want to read on.
Silent on the Moor was released just this year, in an original paperback. The mystery was more engaging, as were the characters. The major hitch in this book comes at the beginning, when despite Brisbane’s specific wish that they not come, Lady Julia and her sister and brother show up at his new estate on the Yorkshire moors. Julia justifies this by saying that when Brisbane most protests her presence in his life, that is when he most needs her. An undeniably romantic sentiment, but getting past that was a problem for me.
Sometimes I think adversarial romantic relationships go too far. The lovers seem so hostile to each other, one wonders how or why they could actually be in love. There should always be obstacles to overcome in a relationship, but the way in which Brisbane keeps Lady Julia at arm’s length is too much. I’d have given up on him many times over before the end.
But these were minor distractions in otherwise enjoyable reads. Have you read any books in this series? What did you think?