Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Review: The Lady Julia Grey Novellas

Midsummer Night 
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 0.5)
Publication: MIRA (January 16, 2017)

Description: Midsummer in England—an auspicious time for a wedding. Brisbane has taken charge of the music. Julia has, perhaps mistakenly, authorized her sisters to choose the dress. And Belmont Abbey is overflowing with guests awaiting the blessed day. What could go wrong?

Combine the close-knit chaos of village life, pagan traditions bursting through staid Victorian conventions, and the congenial madness that tends to swirl around Lady Julia's
family, and you get an unforgettable wedding. But add in a dangerous past nemesis who has
come to wish them not-so-well, and their day to remember just might take a fatal turn…

My Thoughts: This novella tells about Julia and Brisbane's Midsummer wedding. Having turned over the arrangements to her sisters, the plans for the ceremony are rapidly getting out of control. Between Brisbane's deaf and outrageous great-uncle who happens to be a Scottish duke and his gypsy aunt who deeply resents that he has more gypsy powers than she does, Brisbane's side of the family adds a lot to the chaos that is already the March family. Throw in a fire and a jewel thief trying to recover stolen loot and you have a madcap adventure.

Silent Night
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 5.5)
Publication: MIRA (September 14, 2015)

Description: After a year of marriage—and numerous adventures—Lady Julia and Brisbane hope for a quiet, intimate Christmas together—until they find themselves at her father's ancestral estate, Bellmont Abbey, with her eccentric family and a menagerie of animals.

Nevertheless, Julia looks forward to a lively family gathering—but amongst the celebrations, a mystery stirs. There are missing jewels, new faces at the Abbey, and a prowling ghost that brings back unwelcome memories from a previous holiday—one that turned deadly. Is a new culprit recreating crimes of the past? And will Brisbane let Julia investigate—?

My Thoughts: This novella takes place at Christmas at Bellmont Abbey. Julia has been looking forward to spending time with her new husband in the Rookery, a dower house given to her by her father, but a fallen tree means they are housed in the Abbey. With only half of his children able to attend and a romantic disappointment, the Earl is a picture of gloom. Throw in missing jewels and a return of the ghost from an earlier mystery and Julia and Brisbane have a number of things to investigate.

Twelfth Night
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 5.6)
Publication: MIRA (February 1, 2017)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: The March family is all present at Bellmont Abbey for the traditional Twelfth Night mummers play. Every ten years the family gets together to perform the play written by Shakespeare. This year's performance has the addition of a foundling baby which opens an investigation by Brisbane and Julia to find out who he is. Julia is also dealing with some of her sibling's attitudes toward her new half-gypsy, private inquiry agent husband who is not their kind of people. This was has returning characters from earlier books in the series who bring their problems home with them and with Julia and Belmont winding up with a child when they never expected to have one. 

Bonfire Night
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 5.7)
Publication: MIRA (March 1, 2017)

Description: It’s the autumn of 1890, and almost a year has passed since—much to their surprise—Lady Julia and her detective husband, Nicholas Brisbane, became parents. Just as the couple begins to adapt, a solicitor arrives with a strange bequest. Nicholas, it seems, has inherited a country house—but only if he and his family are in residence from All Hallows’ Eve through Bonfire Night.

Neither Lady Julia nor Nicholas is likely to be put off by local legends of ghosts and witches, and the eerie noises and strange lights that flit from room to room simply intrigue them. Until a new lady’s maid disappears, igniting a caper that will have explosive results…

My Thoughts: This novella takes place on All Hallows' Eve when Brisbane inherits a haunted manor from a man he has never met. Julia, Portia, and Plum accompany him and all of them investigate the many hauntings and happenings. They bring along Portia's daughter Jane the Younger and their child John Nicholas Brisbane. It is all a complex plot orchestrated by Brisbane's very disreputable father which puts both Nicholas and Julia in danger but does finally cement the place of John Nicholas in their lives.

I bought these. The titles link to their Amazon pages.

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