Top positive review
Enjoyed this second book even more than the first
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.