Author: Deanna Raybourn
Paperback: 511 pages
Published date: 2007
FTC: won a contest from Historical Tapestry
I won the first two books in Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia series a while back from Historical Tapestry. I thought this would be a good vacation book to read in December so I picked it up. My verdict? Eh. It's a good escape book to read on the beach, in a bubble bath, or at a ski resort lodge. But...it didn't wow me like I was hoping. I normally do a back of the book summary but I'm not liking it as well. So here's
The book starts out in London in 1886 like this:
"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."
Lady Julia Grey's husband has always been sickly so his death was not quite unexpected. However, the mysterious Nicholas Brisbane tells Lady Julia that Edward had been threatened and was afraid for his life. For instance, this threat was torn from the pages of Psalms:
"Let the wicked be ashamed and let them be silent in the grave."
At first Lady Julia scoffs at Brisbane's idea that Edward could have been murdered. But after going through Edward's possessions, she decides that Brisbane might be on to something and hires him.
Lady Julia and Brisbane proceed to solve the mystery and some attraction between the two ensues.
Ok. I'll admit it wasn't bad. I enjoyed the literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter that pertained to the story. Lady Julia was a pretty good heroine and I enjoyed seeing her start to break out of her conservative shell that she had been stuck in during her, let's say, blasé marriage. Brisbane is a pretty cool character too and I enjoyed that he wasn't a Sherlock Holmes knockoff or a "deadly handsome" character. In fact, I really could never quite envision what Lady Julia or Brisbane look like. Not sure why.
The mystery was ok. Some red herrings. I enjoyed the digging into the underbelly of Victorian era London. If sometimes I thought that Lady Julia's family seemed a little too modern for the time period, it still was entertaining and it worked. So what do I know?
My problem is that it just didn't hook me. I kept 500+ pages I kept getting antsy for the story to get going and for it to end. I also have the second book in the series Silent in the Sanctuary and am not sure when I'm going to get around to reading it. I will eventually.
I was pleasantly surprised that while this series had been on my to-read list for a long while, I had only recently realized that it's classified under romance - granted historical fiction and mystery as well - but I was nervous it would be too romancy for me. That wasn't the case.
Have you read it? What were your thoughts? Does the series get better and should I give her other books a chance?
The above cover is the small paperback version I have. Here's what looks like a more modern version:
Similar to my copy but with a different top:
This one's kind of different:
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