Book: Silent in the Sanctuary

Title: Silent in the Sanctuary
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Length: 552 pgs

Summary: Lady Julia Grey is back from her Italian getaway, where she recovered from the loss of her husband, the shock of discovering who killed her husband, the confusing emotions toward the detective hunting her husband’s murderer, and the smoke inhalation from the night all these factors came together in a literal blaze of fury. Home for Christmas in Sussex, Lady Julia is shocked to see among the guests Brisbane, the aforementioned detective, who is newly engaged to one of the silliest women she has ever laid eyes on. When murder happens in the abbey, it is up to Lady Julia and Brisbane to solve the crime despite their tumultuous history.

Excerpts:
pg 158 – She proceeded to comment on everything we passed–the symmetry of the maze, the magnificence of the bell tower, the cleverness of the carp ponds.

And then she saw the gates. She went into raptures about the iron hares that topped them, the darling little gatehouse, the pretty shrubbery by the road. Another twenty minutes was spent on the straightness of the linden allee, and by the time we reached the village of Blessingstoke, my ears had gone numb with the effort of listening to her.

“So many words,” he murmured. “I did not think one person could know so many words.”

pg 482 – “That’s the trouble with women,” she said wonderingly. “We know what we oughtn’t do, but when a man comes along, we only hear his voice, and not our own.”

pg 497 – I finally ran him to ground in the library, gamely working his way through Pride and Prejudice. He sprang to his feet when I entered, smiling broadly.

I nodded to the book. “How are you enjoying Jane Austen?”

He waggled his hand from side to side. “She is a little silly, I think.”

Now I was more certain than ever in my decision. I could not love a man who did not love Jane Austen.

Why should you read this book?
Contrary to many of the reviews that I read on Amazon.com, I really liked this book precisely because the continued love-hate relationship from the previous book, Silent in the Grave, was in no way resolved, and in a way that was true to the characters. That’s genius, if you ask me, because it keeps the true fans of the series panting for more. This book is funny, charming, and portrays High Victorian Society oh so well. The setting is well-written without overtaking the plot, the characters are snappy, and my favorite device is used: giving tertiary characters their own subplots that affect the whole.

Read this book for a sophomore attempt that was as good (if not better) than the first, for a lesson in creating characters that don’t fit in their own society and yet seem genuine to the reader, a true puzzle of a crime, a charming and funny narrator, a passionate romance with no real sense of a happy ending (must continue to read the series!), and the only series in a long time that has an alpha romance lead that doesn’t make me want to shoot him.

4 thoughts on “Book: Silent in the Sanctuary

  1. I just can't get into this series because the setting feels so "wallpaperish" to me. Carole Nelson Douglas and Anne Perry have set the bar for me regarding Victorian-set mysteries, I'm afraid.

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  2. I just can’t get into this series because the setting feels so “wallpaperish” to me. Carole Nelson Douglas and Anne Perry have set the bar for me regarding Victorian-set mysteries, I’m afraid.

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  3. You're right, the setting does tend to fall by the wayside sometimes, especially when the plot picks up. This is definitely something to watch out for in our own writing, if we're writing historical fiction.

    On the other hand, some plot elements in this series couldn't occur without the setting, such as the interactions with the gypsies, interactions between different classes of people, etc. I wouldn't categorize this series as flat historical because of your exact point, but I also feel these books are meant to be more of an entertaining sort of historical mystery. Has the term cozy Victorian-set mystery been coined, yet? 🙂

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  4. You’re right, the setting does tend to fall by the wayside sometimes, especially when the plot picks up. This is definitely something to watch out for in our own writing, if we’re writing historical fiction.

    On the other hand, some plot elements in this series couldn’t occur without the setting, such as the interactions with the gypsies, interactions between different classes of people, etc. I wouldn’t categorize this series as flat historical because of your exact point, but I also feel these books are meant to be more of an entertaining sort of historical mystery. Has the term cozy Victorian-set mystery been coined, yet? 🙂

    Like

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