What I've Read This Week . . .
To Have and To Hold (Bridal Veil Island 1) by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- Inspirational Historical Romance
Silent on the Moor (Lady Julia Grey 3) by Deanna Raybourn -- Historical Romance
Lady Julia has been staying with her sister Portia and Portia's partner Jane in London for the last few months. Now spring as arrived and Portia will be on her way to Yorkshire to visit Brisbane and fix up his new house. Julia is determined to go along and settle whatever is between her and Brisbane once and for all. Hopefully it will end in a marriage proposal. Her youngest brother Valerius is roped into going along for propriety's sake and the March siblings prepare to take Yorkshire by storm. They discover Brisbane's new estate is way out in the middle of the moors where no carriage can go. The village is dreary and desolate and the people weary of strangers. To their surprise, the March siblings discover that Brisbane is not alone in the great house. The previous owner, Lady Allenby, and her two daughters live there also. The Allenbys are descended from Saxon kings and are extremely proud. They're kind but reticent, except for Hilda who prefers chickens and sulks because she's not a boy. Brisbane wants Julia to leave but she discovers his words and his actions are in direct contrast to each other. When Julia undertakes the task of cataloging the late Sir Redwall Allenby's Egyptology collection, she stumbles across dark secrets no one was meant to discover. Her shocking discovery leads her to search for clues and when she finds them, the answers are even more horrific than she could ever imagine. Brisbane knows death is coming and he is powerless to stop it. Julia seeks help from a kind Gypsy woman to try to get Brisbane to accept who and what he is and exorcise his demons so they can live happily ever after. Meanwhile, Portia is having her own romantic difficulties and like her sister, may not end up with the happiness she feels she deserves. Someone is about to become a grandmother (comic relief at it's best) which comes as a huge surprise to all involved. This is the BEST Julia Grey novel in the series so far. It's also the most disturbing. The setting is gothic and perfect for a rainy day. There are numerous references to the Brontes, especially Wuthering Heights. If you aren't familiar with Wuthering Heights you may not get some of the references but that won't take away from the enjoyment of the story. The mystery isn't your typical "whodunnit" murder mystery. It's much darker and deeper than that and truly disturbing. I actually figured it out based on some knowledge of Ancient Egyptian culture. The comic relief is really funny and does a great job of relieving the tension of the story. The romance heats up but still remains clean. I love the push-pull relationship between Julia and Brisbane. Julia is stubborn and a perfect match for the equally hard-headed Brisbane. There are numerous bits of the story to swoon over as it is a very character-driven story. Portia's plot line is sad and I hope she finds happiness because I enjoy her. My only complaint besides the very disturbing plot is that the author and therefore Julia, doesn't seem to like dogs very much. If you liked the previous two Lady Julia mysteries. you'll love this one. If you prefer traditional murder mysteries or traditional romance mysteries (a la Georgette Heyer) you probably would not enjoy this book. I loved it! It could have been the last book in the series. I am not sure I will continue with the rest. Perhaps.