Oct 12, 2010

Book Review: Silent in the Sanctuary (Book 2 in the Lady Julia Grey series) by Deanna Raybourn

Book two in the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries
Silent in the Sanctuary (Lady Julia Grey Series #2) by Deanna Raybourn
January 2008 MIRA Books
560 pages
ISBN: 978-7783-2492-8
This book was purchased by me
The Burton Review Rating:4.5 stars!

Fresh from a six-month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia returns home to Sussex to find her father's estate crowded with family and friends— but dark deeds are afoot at the deconsecrated abbey, and a murderer roams the ancient cloisters. Much to her surprise, the one man she had hoped to forget—the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane—is among her father's houseguests… and he is not alone. Not to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger, titled Italian count.

But the homecoming celebrations quickly take a ghastly turn when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel, and a member of Lady Julia's own family confesses to the crime. Certain of her cousin's innocence, Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again. When a sudden snowstorm blankets the abbey like a shroud, it falls to Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane to answer the shriek of murder most foul.
Deanna Raybourn is a new favorite author for me. After reading the first book in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series, I immediately started book two, Silent in the Sanctuary. I am a fan of mysteries, and of wit and charm and the good old fashioned type of romances. And Raybourn delivers that for me with her star character of Lady Julia Grey. Written with a clever slant on the sarcasm in first person, I really came to like and admire Julia. And if I enjoyed reading Julia's point of view, I also enjoyed the characteristics of Julia's family just as much. The author gives herself a wide berth with many aunts and siblings; ones who disappear in the night and another brother who flirts ferociously with a lady who is already betrothed.

Along with the eclectic family members, Lady Julia has several house guests at her father's estate, lovingly called the Abbey. The place was almost as much of a character in the novel in this book as the murder and the mysteries all occur at the Abbey during a "house party". I loved how the author blended in the Abbey's history and the monks who once lived there into the story. Clergyman Lucian Snow is found murdered, but could it really have been done by Julia's meek cousin Lucy? Once again, the sexy sleuth Brisbane from book one appears, and widowed Julia partners with him to solve the mystery. Can Julia separate business from pleasure, or will she let jealousy over Brisbane's recent engagement cloud her vision?

For book one to book two comparison, I found book two to be even better than the first. I felt a lot more in tune to Julia this time around, and I really enjoyed the entire story which encompassed several small themes and kept me intrigued throughout. This is a series that I do hope ends up with a long line of titles, because I am reading each one of them!

Since MIRA has issued book four in the series, Dark Road to Darjeeling this October, many readers are picking that up and reading Raybourn for the first time. I do like the new style of the cover for the new book, but I definitely think that the previous book covers from MIRA were more appropriate. I am so glad that MIRA's marketing efforts turned me on to this author, and even more glad that I have given myself the time to read book one (Silent in the Grave, click for my review) and two before jumping into the newest release. Book three is Silent on The Moor and I have that on my wishlist. Raybourn has also penned another mystery this year (The Dead Travel Fast), though it is unrelated to the Lady Julia Grey series. If you like mysteries along with an intriguing character list garnished with a dash of romance, you really need to pick up these Lady Julia Grey books. Stay tuned for the review of book four, Dark Road to Darjeeling!