New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns with a brand-new novella, starring her beloved heroine, the intrepid Lady Julia Grey
To mark the passing of another decade, the esteemed—and eccentric—March family have assembled at Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night Revels for their sleepy English village. But before Lady Julia and her handsome, sleuthing husband, Nicolas Brisbane, can take to the stage, a ruckus in the stable yard demands their attention. An abandoned infant is found nestled in the steel helm of St. George. What’s more, their only lead is the local legend of a haunted cottage and its ghastly inhabitant—who seems to have returned.
Once again, Lady Julia and Nicholas take up the challenge to investigate, and when the source of the mystery is revealed, they’ll be faced with an impossible choice—one that will alter the course of their lives…forever.
This is apparently #5.6 (so, a bonus novella) in the Lady Julia Grey series. Needless to say, this is another review copy I picked up without knowing anything about it or the series it belongs to!
Reviews are all over the place for this series. Set in Victorian England, there’s no denying it’s incredibly anachronistic – on the first page our protagonist’s sister walks into her bedroom and comments on her brother in law’s nudity, like it’s a joke. The women discuss family planning and not having children as if they’re living in 2014, and the way they swear… If you’re looking for the quintessential stuffiness of the Victorian era, well, it’s not here.
And yet… This author has taken more care with the dialogue and correct terminology than any other American author of historical romance I’ve come across. I wasn’t cringing at wrong (non-English) words the way I all too often am.
Despite the massive and frequent anachronisms, I think Deanna Raybourn has a real talent for writing strong characters. She even makes the servants actual people with their own thoughts and ideas. This novella was a perfect length for the plot, and while I was pretty lost with all the unfamiliar characters, I still enjoyed reading it.
I think I would give Raybourn’s work another go. However I’d really appreciate it if someone in the editing process said a big No Way to some of the outlandishly modern behaviour!
Review copy provided by NetGalley.