Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Book Review: Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

A co-worker here at the Romance Factory (aka Harlequin) suggested I read Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Grave after I told her how much I love historical romance. Not being a regular fan of mystery, though, I wasn't too excited about picking it up. However, this particular co-worker was sweet enough to hunt down and steal copies of both Grave, and its sequel, Silent in the Sanctuary for me, so I had little choice but to put it on the TBR pile.

Honestly, I am so glad I did! Even for the casual dabbler of mystery such as I this book was fantastic.

Silent in the Grave begins at a party in Lady Julia Grey's lavish townhome. Her husband Edward collapses and dies in front of their guests, a victim of his family's history of heart illness. Julia, left to ponder the next stage in her life, is visited shortly after the funeral by Nicholas Brisbane, a mysterious tall drink of water that I picture as either Gerard Butler or Stephen Moyer (Bill from Showtime's True Blood). To her surprise, he informs her that her dearly departed husband may not have simply died from a weak heart—he may, in fact, have been murdered!

It starts off incredibly well and keeps you glued to the pages as you dive deeper and deeper into intrigue. There's gypsies, there's lesbians, there's even absinthe! The writing is clever and whitty, and, best of all, it's a good whodunnit. While there are no "lemons" to be found, the most romantic moment in the book actually made me swoon. Swoon! I immediately put down the book, and texted my best friend to tell her she needed to read it.

Perhaps I'm too enthusiastic, but I don't particularly care. In a world where romance novels can be dreary and tepid at best, with a single kiss Raybourn ignited the romantic tension in the book. It's a perfect case for how less can somtimes be so much more.

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