Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Holidays with Lady Julia

I love Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey Series, and it is a really good one if you are looking for a Holiday novel or novella. One of the novels is set during Christmas time, and Ms Raybourn has written four novellas set during traditional English holidays.

Their First Christmas Together:
Silent in the Sanctuary is just the second in the Lady Julia Grey series. In this installment, Lady Julia returns to England from Italy just in time for Christmas. Unbeknownst to her, Brisbane, whom Lady Julia had employed to discover her late husband's murderer in the earlier installment, is one of the Christmas house-guests. And, as before, their relationship is full of friction and fireworks. When someone is found murdered in the March family chapel, Brisbane and Lady Julia are forced once again to take up their discordant partnership.

This book is so much fun. I love the crazy March family. I love how Julia is just feisty enough to be a match for Brisbane. I love what Deanna Raybourn did with the old literary troupe: British house party, everyone's snowed in, someone is murdered, throw a ghost in there for good measure and let the games begins. 

Of Ms Raybourn's Lady Julia novellas, Silent Night and Twelfth Night and particularly appropriate for this time of year.

Last year I read Silent Night around Christmas time last year. The story takes place after the fifth book in the series, The Dark Enquiry, so if you haven't read all the books prepare for some serious spoilers. In the novella, Lady Julia and Brisbane (and heaps of animals) go to Bellmont Abbey for Christmas. Of course, there is a bit of a mystery. Jewels go missing, Lord Bellmont is sulking, a ghost is sighted. It's great fun, and, as I had been missing Lady Julia and Brisbane, I was happy to get a little visit with them in this novella.  

This December I read Twelfth Night. This traditional English holiday marks the coming of the Epiphany and concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas, so clearly, it is perfect for the holiday season. This time the whole March clan is gathered at Bellmont Abbey as it is customary for their family to put on the Twelfth Night Revels for their English village. I love having the whole March clan together because there is always a ruckus and a good bit of eccentricity. It was particularly fun to get to know some of Lady Julia's young nieces and nephews. The mystery this time involves an abandoned baby and a haunted cottage. 

The other two novellas in the Night Stories, Midsummer Night and Bonfire Night, are set during Midsummer Night and All Hallow's Eve. I'm putting them on my list for the seasons to come.

All reviews by JoLee.


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