on November 6, 2012
This is a novella that tries to be too many things. It tries to be a heart-warming Christmas story, it tries to have a mystery, it tries to portray family holiday dynamics -- all in a novella. No surprise, it doesn't do any of it terribly well. Also, the characters are becoming a bit caricatured. Not surprising for a series that is starting to get lengthy. So, if you are a Lady Julia fan, then you will enjoy this. If you aren't, start at the beginning, not here.
on November 2, 2012
Picking up immediately after the ending of "The Dark Enquiry," the last Lady Julia novel, the too-short but still immensely enjoyable novella "Silent Night" will hopefully help tide over devoted readers until Deanna Raybourn gifts us with a new full-length story.
It's Christmas, and Julia and Brisbane find themselves at the Abbey, but the atmosphere is strangely un-festive. Half of the March siblings won't show up until Twelfth Night, the Earl March is moody and withdrawn, and much of the household staff is afflicted with a cold; no wonder the house feels so empty! When Julia hears rumors of a ghost, she is curious. But when valuable jewelry starts disappearing, she must investigate!
Remember that this is only a novella; it's not a full-length mystery, but it is fun to tag along with Julia anyway as she puts the pieces together. Julia and Brisbane, who feel like old friends to me this far into such a delightful series, and the entire March family are all kinds of fun, as usual. If you're a fan of the other Lady Julia novels, you'll definitely want to pick up "Silent Night;" the only disappointment to be found here is that it ends so quickly!
Since the first Lady Julia Grey mystery, Silent in the Grave (A Lady Julia Grey Novel), came out in 2007, I've been a loyal fan of Deanna Raybourn's series. For me the first 3 are the very best, with perhaps the first one as my personal favorite, but all of them have been fun to read.
That's why this little story is enjoyable. Lady Julia, her family, and Brisbane have become like old friends to me, so I liked reading about this Christmas 1889, one and a half years after Julia and Brisbane married. There's a little mystery but it's no big deal. The best part of reading this is just the touching base with everybody 'til the next full-length novel is published (and I don't know when that will be, even after checking out Raybourn's website).
An added bonus of this download is the instructions for how to make the March family wassail and Christmas potpourri. Cute and a bit educational.
The March Family gets together for Christmas. Daddy March is all down and out. He has a hermit? of all things who he argues with continually. I confess this is a new one for me. In one of the previous books, it mentions the hermit that he had contracted with, but I still don't get it.
Nevertheless, I read these books to get snatches of our lovely Lady Julia and our handsome Nicholas. There's a bit of burglary going on and you'll never guess who it is. In the process, Lady Julia manages to help a couple of servants toward their HEA and we get the recipe to some Christmas potpourri and wassail - but then, I don't plan to make any up in the near future, sooo, that's pretty much a story filler.
Probably the best thing in the booklet is when Earl March gets "undepressed" when Fleur shows up. Nah, the family doesn't like her and to be truthful, it's always a bit buggy to me that she and Brisbane were once lovers about a hundred years ago. But, it doesn't bother Julia so why should it bother anyone else? Daddy March brightens up considerably.
Not really much to say about these 50 plus page booklets. I can't believe I pay $1.99 to get a few sentences about Julia's and Nicholas' lovemaking generalities and their overall love story. It's absolutely tripping the light fantastic.
on August 25, 2014
Although I have not read any other books in this series, I found this an enjoyable read. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful contrasts of color on the cover, but sucked into the whimsy of the mystery.
I found the characters pleasant and easy to like. I feel that although I understood what was going in throughout the story, that I missed some subtle nuances to the story that I would more fully understand had I read the first books in the series.
This is definitely a series worth looking into. I plan on trying out some of the earlier books in the series so I can get a full taste of what these books are about, rather than the small dose I received from this Novella.
on November 18, 2012
This is one of those stories that seems to be written strictly for the fans of a series. And since I'm a huge fan of the Lady Julia series, I grabbed it up eagerly. It is a short novella that takes a break from the usual darker murder mysteries and intense romantic relationship that Lady Julia and her detective husband, Brisbane share together. There is a light mystery, light sweet romantic interludes and gathering as a family for the holidays to entertain the reader.
Julia and Brisbane along with their animal menagerie journey by train down to her March family (as in the 'madder than a March hare' Marches no less) ancestral estate which is an old, brooding abbey that featured in the second novel, Silence in the Sanctuary. Julia's older sister Portia, her baby daughter and Portia's pets journey down with them. They are soon joined by their brother, Plum, but none of the other Marches can make it until the big family Twelfth Night gathering.
Almost on arrival Julia senses that things are a bit off at the Abbey. Her father is in a dark mood, her aunt is skittish and secretive, a ghost has been sighted once again and things are going missing, but nobody wants to do anything about them. Worst of all, no preparations have been made for the family holiday traditions and it all feels bleak and flat to Julia who remembers the joys of Christmas in the Abbey from other years.
The plot is simple and not the usual thing, as I noted before, for this series, but it was fun to see Brisbane in a lighter romantic mood though still himself to some extent. Julia is as curious and connivingly meddlesome as ever, but it is her machinations that eventually save the day even if the situation in this story isn't as dire as the usual mysteries she is confronted with. It was nice to visit with some of Julia's family though the typical level of March family madness was a bit subdued though only by degree.
All in all, it was a nice little 'warm fuzzy' interlude as I impatiently await the next installment in this fab murder mystery series.
If you haven't had a chance to read this series set mostly in Victorian England, I can recommend it to those who enjoy murder mysteries that include a slow to build romance story arc as the series progresses.
on November 24, 2012
Let me start off by saying that, being in the mood to read a Christmas themed story, I came across 'Silent Night' by happenstance, having previously been familiar with neither the series nor the author. When I realized it was an "in-between" filler type novella for an already established set of novels, I became more than a little disappointed, however, that sentiment did not last very long. All the elements came together so artfully, I forgot this was meant to be a short novella, and for an entirely too brief time, had the pleasure of meeting Lady Julia and her rather eccentric family.
This was not a traditional mystery, though that was easily overlooked since my preference is for strongly character driven books in lieu of other aspects, anyhow. On that note, I sheepishly admit that I often give a pass to historical fiction with leading female characters for two reasons - first, the women tend to be an unrealistic walking anachronism who generally become obnoxious and annoying in the author's attempt to make them "strong". It often seems contrived and has become extremely off putting to read about a 18th-19th century woman acting like she stepped out of a 21st century gutter. Lady Julia was refreshingly intelligent, her own woman if you will, without being exaggeratedly brash. Secondly, in such novels, the male characterizations inevitably suffer in a perhaps unconscious attempt to make the female leads look better.
This author focused on giving us very human, realistic, vivid, intelligent, quirky characters all around, so that everyone came off as strong on the page. With her somewhat humourous writing style and ability to make the reader experience what her characters are feeling, it was the icing on an already sweet cake. I also appreciated that scene with Lady Julia and Rose making the potpourri while the latter told the story of how she came to be a reformed prostitute. It resonated so strongly of hope, that scene alone put me in a Christmas mood.
Every so often I will come across a historical so authentic, it pulls the reader into the past. This was one such rare gem, managing to draw me in like few else have, and for all purposes it was the late nineteenth century if only in my mind. This is the mark of an exceptionally gifted writer, and for that alone, it was worth the read. Without a doubt, this is one I will come back to when I need an escape, or when I could do with a reminder as to what the true meaning of keeping Christmas in your heart is really about. In short, (possibly too late for that, though) I've a strong feeling I will be reading the entirety of this series very soon. I did not get my fill of Lady Julia and Brisbane.
First Sentence: I tore open the letter and scanned it quickly before brandishing it at my husband.
Lady Julia and her husband, Brisbane, hoped for a quiet Christmas. However, spending the holidays at her father’s estate with her eccentric family, a myriad of pets and, possibly, a ghost end that thought very quickly.
The full-length books in this series are quite enjoyable, although I’ll admit the first three are the best. This, however, just didn’t hold up to par.
Yes, the characters are fun. Julia is delightful and matched by her sister, Portia and Portia’s odorous Pug. And then there’s Brisbane; that man all women would desire.
The dialogue is charming…”Don’t be cryptic, Plus. You haven’t the cheekbones for it.” There is a story about Shakespeare that will make fans of the Bard gasp in horror.
However, the story tried to be too much and none of it worked well. The mystery was treated almost as an aside. The relationship between Julia and Banbridge lacked any depth and became somewhat twee. And, most annoying, several references were made to previous cases which were rather offputting, even if one has read other books in the series.
“Silent Night” was an acceptable bit of fluff but there are much better Christmas novellas available.
SILENT NIGHT: A LADY JULIA CHRISTMAS NOVELLA (Hist Mys-Lady Julia – London, 1889) – Okay
Raybourn, Deanna – Christmas Short Story
MIRA – November, 2012 (Amazon Digital Services)
on October 1, 2014
I have read all of Lady Julia Mysteries. I intend to read all that are written. I love the suspense and the interaction
between Lady Julia and her family. I am not a "Romance" reader, but Lady Julia and Brisbane keep me waiting for
on December 23, 2013
If there is one character (or in this case characters) I have missed the most it would be Lady Julia and Brisbane. I adore this dynamic duo and have missed this series so very much, it is by far one of my favorites. It seamlessly combines all the genres I love best and puts it in one neat little package that is utterly hard to ignore and not love.
Raybourn has a unique ability to combine genres so flawlessly that everything she writes is completely believable. Whether that be the paranormal aspect of this series or the hijinks that Lady Julia manages to get herself into time and time again. Whenever I open up a book in this series I know that I will be getting exactly what I want and need and have a smile on my face the whole way through.
And oh how I have missed the loving gruffness that is Brisbane and the bossy cunning nature that is Julia. The craziness that is her family and the undeniable love between them all.
I love watching Julia and Brisbane's relationship continue to grow and evolve. Each new chapter in their life together gets better and better as they both become more accustomed to their love for one another, their devotion, their loyalty and the life they are leading and blending. Brisbane is as busy as ever with new mysteries to solve and adventures and he is getting better at letting Julia help take part in solving them even if he is still that gruff alpha male we all have grown to know and love over the course of the series.
Julia is still the meddling mischievous woman that gets herself into more trouble than naught even though her intentions are purely good and she has a heart of gold. She, like Brisbane loves fiercely and will protect whatever she sees fit too, which more often that naught, also gets her in trouble with Brisbane who wants nothing more than to lock her in an ivory tower and to keep her safe.
This was so well done and really did remind me all over again why I fell in love with this series to begin with and it left me longing for more adventures with Brisbane and Julia.