Lady Julia Grey is the feisty heroine of Deanna Rabourn‘s excellent ‘Silent’ series of novels.
Beginning with Silent in the Grave – in which Julia meets the intriguing & delectably Byronic Nicholas Brisbane over the body of her recently murdered husband; we follow Julia’s adventures through two further novels. Raybourn is currently working on the fourth mystery to feature these characters, which I await, along with an ever-growing legion of fans, in a really quite breathless & giddily excited manner.
I can honestly say that I have enjoyed reading this series more than any other I can care to think of for many, many years. The most recently published & third in the series, Silent on the Moor, is a masterpiece of Gothic (in the true literary sense) mystery by someone who not only meticulously researches her subject and the era in which she sets her novels, but manages to deftly combine properly page-turning suspense with genuinely witty dialogue & heart-poundingly swoonsome (beautifully, subtly sketched) romance.
Mystery, Humour and Historical Romance: three genres that I am an avid reader of, but am often left frustrated and let down by, so often are they cynically aimed at women with an air of “Oh this’ll do – just put some pink & frills on the cover and women will buy it.” Now, there is a place for pink frilly literature (although I am not what you might describe as one of life’s ‘pink’ lovers), but I am here to tell you that female readers also deserve well-written, superbly plotted novels with – oh my God, imagine it – intelligent, independent female characters who are funny, charming and interesting in their own right! I have chosen to embolden that because – if you are a fellow reader of any romance novels in particular, one very often has to toss the books aside whilst grinding your teeth and wishing nothing better than to slap the empty-headed heroine & her dizzy cohorts around their silly chops.
I am also a voracious spotter of glaringly [to any British reader] obvious mistakes and suppositions in books by American authors setting their novels in Britain (or having British characters) who wander around saying & doing things that are just plain WRONG. Such sloppiness puts a crease in my otherwise porcelain-smooth [ha!] brow that refuses to leave and continues to bug me for long after I’ve finished the novel and makes me want to write letters to the Times. Ne’er a furrow or mere twitch to address the Times of such mistakes with this series, dear readers. Sorry to sound so awfully anglocentric with this statement, but I didn’t even know the author wasn’t British until I had finished the reading the first novel!
Sharp-witted readers may be able to ascertain a certain raw nerve poking through the above paragraph. I do not apologise for it, as I cannot tell you how frequently I am irritated by female characters & general sloppiness in novels. Thank the heavens, then, for Deanna Raybourn. Not that I would class her novels as romance – although they have strongly romantic elements, certainly; these are first and foremost rip-roaring mysteries that are best not read on trains. You WILL miss your stop. It has happened to me twice – Ms. Raybourn and her intriguing cast of characters are a veritable scourge to punctuality. I urge all readers not familiar with her books to immediately seek them out.I promise you wont be disappointed!
Now then, dearies. Why not settle down with a cup of tea and read an excerpt from Silent in the Grave?
Having introduced my inspiration for the following themed collection – again set out using Poster Sketch & items found on Etsy, as our entries regarding Bawdy Couture and Marie-Antoinette were, previously – I proudly offer you yet another gallery of temptations, one item of which I’ve shown before, but thought it deserved another mention in this context…
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