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Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

Silent on the Moor
Deanna Raybourn
I've been meaning to read this, the third installment of one of my favorite series for a while but I've been gated by the fact that there are no mass market paperback copies. More on that side rant later.
 
Book 1: Silent in the Grave -http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
Book 2: Silent in the Sanctuary - http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg

**** Minor spoilers for the earlier books in this review ****

The Premise: In the last book, Brisbane disappears, as usual, leaving Lady Julia Grey again with the sense of unfinished business regarding their relationship, so when her sister Portia is invited to Brisbane's new home on the northern moors, Julia decides to take matters into her own hands and come along, uninvited or not. Julia doesn't expect a warm welcome by a man who is clearly hiding something, but she's surprised to find the previous tenants of Grimsgrave, the Lady Allensby and her two daughters, Ailith and Hilda, still in residence, while Brisbane acts as slippery as ever.

Read an excerpt of Silent on the Moor here

My Thoughts: Julia gets more and more impetuous in each book. I think the first impression she made on me has stayed in my mind (a woman who knows the societal rules of her time and abides by them despite feeling the constraints), so whenever Julia does or says things that are distinctly unladylike, I feel a little surprised. I wasn't sure how to feel about Julia's decision to just show up at Brisbane's house, despite her sister Portia and brother Valerius coming along, because there are members of her family (including her father) who call it what it is - throwing herself at a man who of late has shown an insulting lack of interest.  I did cringe a little, wondering what Brisbane's reaction would be.

When Julia gets to Grimsgrave, the sparring with Brisbane begins again, and their interactions highlight how much Julia's character has evolved. Do not fear though - this is the best thing ever. I find their relationship even more delicious because Julia is comfortable with who she is. Brisbane is a dark horse; he manages to stymie Julia even when she thinks she has the upper hand, but Julia isn't afraid to keep pushing.  I understand her character (it helps that she's the first person narrator), but Brisbane holds his cards very close to his chest. I know he loves her, but he has strange ideas about honor, relationships, and protecting people. If Julia hadn't changed into who she is now, I don't think their relationship would work because she'd be too afraid to break down his barriers. This Julia gives as good as she gets, and I was cheering for her every time she managed to chip his armor.

Every book in this series involves a mystery.  In Silent on the Moor, the biggest mystery is Brisbane himself. He clearly has a past that is tied to Grimsgrave, and Julia learns as much about him as she does about the strange Allensbys. At first, it's Julia's nosiness that prompts her questions about the Allensby family. Is there something between the beautiful Ailith and Brisbane? Then there is the question of Redwall Allenby, Ailith's brother, recently passed. Was there more to his death and his disgrace in Egyptology circles? These are things Julia is curious about, but it's only when she makes a macabre discovery that the sleuthing begins in earnest. Julia knows that this is the window for her chance at happiness, and if she doesn't figure out what's going on, she'll lose Brisbane forever.  Although the mystery feels somewhat secondary to the relationship troubles, I found it rather satisfying that the focus was where it was. I wanted what Julia does when she goes to Grimsgrave: to settle the thing between her and Brisbane once and for all.

It's all very atmospheric. The Allenbys sit proud, closed off in their broken down home, remembering glory of generations long past, while the nearby villagers bear them no good will. Julia and her family stumble awkwardly into this situation, not exactly wanted but tolerated nonetheless, while Brisbane stomps in and out, dark and broody as ever. Brisbane perfectly suits the crumbling Grimsgrave and the wild and dangerous moor. I loved the setting, particularly at this time of year, when things get wet and gloomy, and dark clouds hang above.  With Brisbane's gypsy past and the moor setting, it's clear that there's a nod here to Wuthering Heights, but in this case there's a happier outcome.

Oh man, the ending. The story took it's time getting there (my trade paperback is 465 pages), but it was well worth reading because the final pages are sigh-worthy.  For those of you who are peekers - just believe me that it ends well and try not to skip ahead.

Overall: This may be my favorite Lady Julia Grey installment yet. Wholly for the ending, although the dramatic setting on the moors, the strange Allenbys and the broody Brisbane aren't too shabby in making this a lovely story. The mix of romance, mystery and the Victorian setting are perfect. I love this series. So good.

Buy: Amazon | Powell's | The Book Depository

Side rant!
OK, I must say that I've been waiting for this book to be published in Mass Market because my copies of the earlier books are MMPBs. But, although this book was published in trade paperback in March, 2009 (as of this post 1 year and 8 months ago), there seems to be no plan to release this book in mass market? What's up with that?

Other reviews:
See Michelle Read - positive review
Aneca's World - 4/5
The Good, the Bad, and the Unread - B
Angieville - positive review

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
estara
Nov. 20th, 2010 09:26 am (UTC)
Interesting. I own the first one as a free ebook and the set-up and description of the interaction reads as if it might interest me as much as Lynne Connolly's Georgian Richard & Rose series or - more recently - the Gilded Age series by P.B. Ryan, which means I'll probably like it although I'm not generally a mystery reader.
janicu
Nov. 20th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
I haven't read/heard of either of those, but the descriptions suggest similarities. I think you may like this one.

By the way, I've been thinking of your offer for a giveaway. Does that still stand? I don't have anything to giveaway now so I was thinking I should just host for your two books.
estara
Nov. 20th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
Sure it does! They're lying in their original parcel on a shelf in expectation of being given away ^^. I'd send them via the cheapest surface mail option (Books and Press International Surface), but even when I do that for Bookmooch they're usually at the recipient in two weeks. Go right ahead!
christina_reads
Nov. 20th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
I really like this series too -- Julia and Brisbane's relationship is so much fun to read about!

I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you in being annoyed about the way these books have been published. I have Silent in the Grave in mass market with the old cover (http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Grave-Deanna-Raybourn/dp/0778325245/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1290267574&sr=1-1), which is so much more attractive than the new ones! Then I have Silent in the Sanctuary in mass market with the new cover, and Silent on the Moor in the trade edition. I hate it when my books in a series look different!
janicu
Nov. 20th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
YES, I wanted to rant about the cover changes too. Hey, let's make them only trade PBs from now on, so that the loyal followers of this series have to spend double to continue reading it! Also let's make the covers really boring and look like all the other historical romance books out there!

I want to just buy the series in the UK editions, but I think they're not all in print. So frustrating.
beth_shulman
Nov. 20th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I liked this book. And I loved the ending. (And I seriously disliked the next book, although I just finished it, so I'm not sure why yet.
janicu
Nov. 21st, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Really.. uh oh! THE DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING is in the TBR.
beth_shulman
Nov. 21st, 2010 04:41 am (UTC)
I felt like it was repeated ground, but it did get rave blog reviews, so maybe your experience will be different!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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