I’ll take Brisbane over Heathcliff any day

When I saw the ARC for Silent on the Moor in the Readers’ Advisory office I literally squealed like a little girl. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I adore Raybourn’s Silent series and was dreading the three-month wait for the next one (I can be terribly impatient sometimes). But then, there it was, just sitting there, waiting for me to pick it up and make it my first read of 2009. Squeeeeee!!!!Silent on the Moor

The third (and final??) installment of the Silent series has our heroine, Lady Julia Grey, haring off to the Yorkshire moors to confront her sometime partner/sometime lover, Nicholas Brisabane. Julia knows she loves Brisbane, and she knows Brisbane loves her, and she knows that he knows these things. So, she’s decided to take the bull by the horns, follow him to the manor house he’s just purchased, and get these affairs of the heart settled once and for all. But, of course, all is not right at Grimsgrave Manor, and evil doings are afoot.

As in the second installment, the setting for this book is an archetype of gothic mystery/romances. Here is the dark, decrepit manor house isolated on the beautiful but harsh moors, inhabited by the remnants of a once-great family brought low through their own vanity and self-enforced isolation. Add to this a gypsy who lives on the edge of the moor, ghostly bells that presage death, and a secret chamber disgorging deathly secrets. All handled so deftly by Raybourn that the well-worn paths of the genre never once felt trite or tedious.

To be sure, there were some parts that were less than stellar. The resolution of Brisbane’s financial problems, for instance, seemed a little too pat for my taste. (I won’t say anything further on that score so as not to spoil the ending.) In addition, the final, shocking solution to the mystery was so obvious it practically announced its presence with trumpeting fanfare about 2/3 of the way through the book (or maybe my mind is just sick enough to automatically guess this squicky plot twist). Nevertheless, these complaints are minor, minor, minor and in no way diminished my enjoyment of the book.

As always, the characterization was superb, the dialogue was delightful, and the romance was swoon-tastic. What I particularly like about all three of the Silent books is that the characters seem genuine and human, flawed but likeable, and capable of personal growth. There is also a real sense of believability; not all loose ends are tidied, not everyone gets a happy ending.

I highly recommend Silent on the Moor, as well as the two preceding books, Silent in the Grave and Silent in the Sanctuary. To learn more about Deanna Raybourn, check out her blog a go-go.


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