Silent on the Moor—Deanna Raybourn
I reflected that one of the primary components of happiness was a worthwhile occupation, a thought that would likely horrify my brother Bellmont. (224)Thoughts on Silent in the Grave, Lady Julia #1
Thoughts on Silent in the Sanctuary, Lady Julia #2
In this third installment in the Lady Julia Mysteries series, champion brooder Nicholas Brisbane has inherited Grimsgrave Hall, somewhere in the abyss of Yorkshire. Brisbane invites Portia, Julia's sister, to help him with the revamping of the place, and Julia invites herself along for the journey—despite the fact that Brisbane has specifically forbidden Portia to bring her. Their youngest brother Lysander accompanies them in order to keep things above board. When they arrive, however, they find the remnants of the family who used to own the estate, a proud family that, as the Goodreads description says, "keeps their bloodline pure and their secrets close." Dun dun dun. Julia endeavors to draw Brisbane into some sort of commitment, but then is told that he is marrying one of the Allenby girls so that they can stay in their home. She also meets Rosalie, a Gypsy woman who lives on the estate. Meanwhile, Julia starts to catalogue the Egyptian artifacts left over after the Allenby boy, Redwall, passed away. When she discovers two mummified babies in a sarcophagus, she and Brisbane must uncover the mystery behind them.
Moors always make me think of Wuthering Heights, and this was very reminiscent of that: brooding hero, lots of walks along the moor. First thought when I saw this was, "This cover certainly looks more bodice-rippery than either of the previous books. Hopefully Julia and Brisbane actually cover some relationship ground in this book. Also, why is her head cut in half? That's weird."
Like with the first book, I figured out most of the "twists" before Julia did. For example, maybe it's because I've read Game of Thrones, but I figured out that the babies were Ailith and Redwall's pretty much as soon as they showed up. I didn't quite comprehend the full nature of Ailith's insanity, but I knew that the twins were a result of incest. It's the first thing that popped into my mind. I also totally deduced that the twins at the inn (Jerusha and Deborah) were daughters of Alfred Allenby's—thus half sisters of Ailith and Redwall's—a fact which emphasized that the babies were Ailith and Redwall's because twins are often genetic. I realized that Brisbane was going to be the guy that Redwall was so upset had joined the Egypt excursion and was causing problems for him, although I don't think that one was meant to be so much of a surprise. But I knew right away that Rosalie was Brisbane's aunt; obviously she was going to have a connection to him, especially after we found out he had been at Grimsgrave as a child, and it's not like the Roma population is so extensive. Pure odds indicated that there was going to be some sort of connection. Or maybe I'm just a really great literary detective.
I really loved getting to find out more about the ever-mysterious Brisbane and his family. Rosalie was delightful, and I loved her interactions with Julia. We got what seemed like Brisbane's complete backstory, the whole deal about his dad (Black Jack Brisbane, how ominous) and his mom Mariah. All of which had been hinted at and vaguely outlined before, but here was the whole story.
I was devastated when Jane wrote and said that she was leaving Portia in order to get married and have babies. I mean, there are other ways to make that happen. And they're so happy! Their relationship is truly one of my favourite things about the books. This feeling of devastation was nothing to how I felt after reading the next book, Dark Road to Darjeeling, though. Ugh, the feels. (See my thoughts on Lady Julia #4, Dark Road to Darjeeling, here.)
Silent on the Moor definitely wraps up much more "happily ever after" than the other two. Oh look, how convenient, Brisbane happens to find the mineshaft he's been looking for, which allows him the means to feel comfortable to marry Julia and not be mooching off her money. Oh look, they actually get married. (Finally.) It definitely feels like a culmination to a story line, especially since the next book titles transition from the "Silent in/on..."
I loved every minute of it, I promptly read the next one (Dark Road to Darjeeling), and will definitely continue to read this series.