My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"She hugged me again, fiercely, and flew off to the kitchen, leaving me feeling fairly staggered. I was the daughter of an earl, I thought bleakly, born to privilege and wealth most people could not even hope to imagine. And in that moment, I would have happily traded places with a little maid who had everything I did not." - Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn
Silent on the Moor is the third novel in the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn: Victorian murder mysteries featuring the delightful Lady Julia Grey and the wonderfully enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane.
Silent on the Moor sees Mr Brisbane come into possession of a wild and rundown estate known as Grimsgrave on the Yorkshire moors. Despite Mr Brisbane's express wishes that she not, Lady Julia invites herself to stay at his estate, dragging along her sister and brother on the journey north as her chaperones (custom of the times required that a lady should never travel alone, especially to visit an unmarried man in his own home). Upon arriving at Grimsgrave, Lady Julia is shocked to discover that the previous owner - Mrs Allenby and her two daughters - are still residing in the hall, but even more surprising is Mr Brisbane's coldness towards her. Being the determined and stubborn woman that she is, Lady Julia refuses to return to London and decides to stay at Brisbane's side despite the clear opposition; she is determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries of Grimsgrave Hall.
Silent on the Moor is wonderfully gothic. Set on the wild expanse of the Yorkshire moors in a crumbling mansion, with attempted murder, mummified remains, ghosts, gypsy magics and well-guarded secrets, it is unabashedly addictive. The story conjures images of a derelict, darkened hall alight with the amber glow of the fire whilst the wind howls relentlessly outside, and Mr Brisbane's dark and brooding character is deliciously Heathcliff-esque: The author's inspiration for this story is quite obviously Emily Bronte's classic novel, Wuthering Heights, but she pulls it off. I loved it.
Don't be misled by the cover: This is not a romance novel. Although the romantic tension between Lady Julia and Mr Brisbane is electrifying, Silent on the Moor is an historical mystery novel with seemingly star crossed lovers playing the central roles. And it is brilliant. I loved everything about this novel: The setting, the characters, the style, and it is my favourite of the Lady Julia novels to date (I hope to see Lady Julia and Mr Brisbane return to Grimsgrave in future).
I would highly recommend this series to anyone.