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on 15 October 2017
I wasn't sure that I would persevere with this series after the first book, and in truth read it to find out how Julia's and Nicolas' relationship would pan out. In fact, I liked this story more than the first one - the story is told in the first person, not a favourite for me, but in this story we get to learn a lot more about Julia and her interractions with her family, her love-interest, Nicolas, and various acquaintances brought together under her father, the Earl's roof, for a Christmas house party. Parts of the story, especially the murder, really held my interest, because there were so many strands to untangle. Some parts, however, towards the end, relating to Plum, Alessandro and Charlotte, in particular, were a bit obvious and Julia ran from room to room patting people [she does a lot of that!] solving mysteries as she went! Her relationship with Nicolas proceeds almost along parallel lines, but there were small declarations from both of them reinforcing their feelings for one another, although neither will go out on a limb and declare themselves.

Both interesting and repellent is how the author describes life in the late 1800s. The March family are wealthy and privileged, and they all accept it as their due, while 'poor relations' are not assisted in any material way, although they are invited to join the main family for certain occasions. A sad indictment of the times, but true enough, and brave of the author to show this less-than-appealing side of an old, noble family, especially since the story is told in the first person.

I shall continue with the series because I like the tone of the narrative - there is some genuinely witty dialogue, especially between Julia and Morag, her maid. A good fun read, with some quite serious moments, too.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 April 2017
A slice of March family life here when Julia and her two brothers are summoned home from Italy. Aunt Hermia is indisposed so Portia is in charge (ouch!) and The Earl is in full cry over the sudden marriage of Lysander to an unknown Italian; in addition Brisbane is there with his affianced wife!!!! Julia is stunned. There are squabbles aplenty, fistfights, secrets and lies and a self-proclaimed murderer who claims sanctuary in the chapel. Scandal threatens but a well-timed snowstorm allows Brisbane and Julia to sort things out - well, the murder anyway. Julia is really discovering herself, Brisbane is as frustrating as he can possibly be and their relationship jerks along. Lovely stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2008
Having read the brilliant `Silent in the Grave' and seeing that `Silent in the Sanctuary' isn't due out in the UK until January 2009, I decided to order the American edition. I wasn't disappointed! This novel is just as good as the first, if not even better. Lady Julia Grey has returns the England for Christmas having spent several months in Italy with her brothers. Julia is expecting to spend a quiet month with her family, at her childhood home, for Christmas. However, a dead body and a confession from a member of her own family mean she doesn't get what she is expecting! Nicolas Brisbane is also present for the celebrations and there is a great amount of sexual tension between him and Julia.

As with the first book, this is a fantastic novel; the characters are interesting and three dimensional; the pace never wavers; and the murder has a real motive that is worth discovering. Unlike many similar novels, this one doesn't peter out towards the end. You can read this without having read the first novel, but it might be better to start at the beginning.

The whole novel looks at polite Victorian society and the scandal that is bubbling just below the surface, and it manages to do it with a feisty heroine and a sense of humour!

Highly recommended
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on 10 August 2014
I was delighted to find this, the second story about Lady Julia Grey, as good as the first - not always the case. We meet some more of Julia's family when she and her brothers are summoned back from Italy, where she had gone to recuperate from her initial adventures, to the family home, to celebrate Christmas (amongst other matters). There are guests as well as family present, including the saturnine Mr Nicholas Brisbane, and the Romanies are camped nearby. Death and robbery occur and once again Julia pits her wits, both alongside and against, Brisbane as they try to solve a mystery. Witty and amusingly told, with good historical detail, this book was both fun and a pleasure to read.
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2009
This is the second Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane novel by Deanna Raybourn, if you have not read the first then do so, though this book will fill in some of the background story you will not get the full picture of their relationship and all its underlying currents.

Lady Julia is recovering from her ordeal in the previous book in Italy with two of her brothers Plum and Ly, but their father wants them all back home for Christmas, and for Ly to bring his new Italian bride with him. They come home bringing with them Alessandro, a friend from Italy who harbours a secret passion for Lady Julia to their country pile Bellmont Abbey or March Manor, where they are greeted by many members of their rather funny and eccentric family as well as a surprise or two and the mysterious Lord Wargrave. But is he mysterious or does Lady Julia already know him?

What then transpires is something which brings all great detective novels together - a murder. Who has committed this murder and why? And why has one of the house guests and cousin of sorts to Lady Julia claimed sanctuary in the chapel attached to the abbey? Did they really commit the murder or are they protecting someone.

Brisbane investigates with some help from Lady Julia, who whilst helping in one investigation ends up causing friction in another - the real reason that Brisbane has descended on Bellmot Abbey. Everyone is under suspicion and as the snow closes any access in or out of the murder, items go missing and the body of the victim is stored (and a post mortem carried out) in the game larder. It rather puts some of the guests (and the cook) of the food!

Raybourn has brought the two characters of Lady Julia and Brisbane back to life again, and this book reads as a witty tale of (despite the murder) escape into life in Victorian England. Ten out of ten for capturing so much of the society by an author who is an American but not once does this book slip from what it is all about - England. If like me you love reading about that upper class society world in an age gone by and you are not averse to a bit of murder and intrigue then this is the series of books for you. Raybourn successfully leads the ending of the story into the next one and I cannot wait to read it.
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on 15 April 2017
not as well written or well paced as the first book in the series..rather mechanical, the characters run in and out like clockwork figures, with little depth or development, and the melodramatic effects are rather silly, and very abrupt ...too many figures dance on too small a pin...mildly amusing...
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on 1 January 2010
This is the next book in the series after 'Silent in the Grave'. Lady Julia Grey has been in Italy for a few months with her two brothers and is ordered home for Christmas by her father. When she arrives back she is suprised to see her father has a few guests staying at the estate and who else should be there but Nicholas Brisbane who is suprise, supposed to be engaged to this lady named Charlotte. In the meanwhile there is a murder committed of a local priest who is a guest of the party and Julia's father asked her and Nicholas to investigate. The prime suspect just happened to be Julia's cousin.... Any Deanna Raybourn fan should read this book, its great.
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on 2 July 2017
I find these books to be an easy read and cannot wait to read the third book about Lady Julia and Brisbane and all the characters from the first two books
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on 26 August 2012
Really enjoyed book one in this series, and book two lives up to expectations. It almost feels as though Julia and Brisbane has stepped back in their fledgling relationship, and the potential romance bubbles beneath the surface while the plot bubbles away on top. No, perhaps not 100% historically accurate, but who cares? Well-written, good dialogue, intricate plot, a good read.
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on 1 February 2016
This is the sequel to Silent in the Grave and it continues the adventures of Lady Julia as a detective with a surprising nose for investigating crime in unexpected places.
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