Author: Deanna Raybourn
Copyright: 2007 (Mira); pgs. 511
Series: 1st in the Julia Grey/”Silent” series
Sensuality:Mature Themes **
Who: Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane
Summary: After initially dismissing the idea that her husband may have been murdered, Lady Julia Grey hires Nicholas Brisbane to investigate the possibility.
Comments: What a great book! I made the mistake of reading the book club questions first — why? I have no idea. Even knowing certain things didn’t distract from the book; in fact, it made me more aware of some of the clues, it made me pay attention to things certain characters said. The Magda side-story was certainly a surprise.
Since I don’t want to accidentally give anything away, I talk about Julia’s family instead. Yes, they are definitely unconventional. Lord March doesn’t insists that his widowed daughters remarry. He doesn’t see a problem with them being financially independent. He also doesn’t seem to mind that one of his sons is a artist and another is a playwright/poet, though he does seem to mind that one of his sons wants to be a surgeon. In those days, it wasn’t something that aristocrats do — but the Marches are unconventional, so it shouldn’t have come as a shock to the earl.
And their names! Early in second chapter, when Julia, her sisters, and their aunt are discussing the funeral arrangements, I got a bit suspicious. By the end of the chapter, I was pretty sure I was right, but I looked it up anyway. The names of the earl, his siblings, his children, and his dog all come from the same source (we just has to assume Bellmont’s given name is also from the same source, since it’s not mentioned). The biggest surprise was the dog. I wasn’t looking for a connection there when I stumbled on it by accident. It was fun to see how many more relatives with source-specific names got mentioned.
I loved the characters. I loved the Crown raven. The touches of humor. Julia, queen of denial:
I stared at the fine tailoring of [Brisbane] retreating back while Mrs. Birch ogled something else.
You keep telling yourself that, Jules. And that you didn’t enjoy seeing Brisbane’s naked chest. You can’t fool us; we know that your girlhood crushes were dark, broody men in literature.
All and all, another enjoyable read.
“If that Mr. Brisbane should die soon. . .”
“I will send for you at once.”
“Oh, that is kind of you, my lady.”
— Mrs. Birch, Julia
** = Though there are no intimate scenes, the book touches on mature topics.
Started: 14 February 2008
Finished: 18 February 2008