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Topic: Silent in the Grave 30-41

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Subject: Silent in the Grave 30-41
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Date Posted: 6/1/2012 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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The problem with re-reading a mystery is that you know who done it.  But the beauty of it is that you can analyse the clues.  Often times the author will say they really didn't know who the murderer is until well into the story, and I have to believe that this is the case with this book.

I didn't love this book when I first read it and in re-reading it I found the same things bothered me this time.  I felt I could almost see when the editor said this doesn't work lets go here, it seemed a bit choppy in places.  The whole Magna incident and the misunderstanding, is made believable because of Julia's cluelessness when it comes to her staff, but even with that it  just didn't ring true .  Also Julis's attraction to Brisbane seemed awkward, but I couldn't tell if this was intentional or not but I found it distracting.  I have decided it is intentional.  She also does something a lot of authors do with first novels, they seem to tell half a story because they are setting up the next novel, and the story suffers for it. IMO

What I liked, and what made me go back for the next book in the series
I love the characters and could see the potential in them.  I want to know what would happen with Brisbane and Julia. I want to see if the same thing that bothered me about her writing would be present in the next book.  I wanted to get to know the March family better. So all in all I would give this book a 2.5 stars with and optimistic + for good measure.  I was not confident in the next book and I got the it from the  library. The second and thrid books in this series were a lot better.

Note:   I bought the audio book for this, so this is just about the audio version. I think the narrator did and good job but her Scots accent was horrible and alI I can say is I am grateful there isn't a lot of dialogue for Monk, and Morag.



Last Edited on: 6/1/12 10:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/1/2012 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,468
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Letty - I'm so happy to read your review of this book because after finishing it, I thought "why all the hype about these - and I have the WHOLE series?" I am glad to hear that the following books get better because I have to say that this first one was a real disappointment!

Date Posted: 6/1/2012 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,468
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I will add to my above post: The characters in this book were pretty well developed, as you can see by our "casts". I think we all have a feel as to just who these people are, even though the plot was a little disjointed. I'm going to continue reading since I like the characters and see how this goes.

Date Posted: 6/1/2012 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Jeanne, I am glad you will go on to the next book, DR  shows more confidence in her writing I think , and the third Silent on the Moor is my favorite with Dark Road to Darjeeling a very close second.  I think the first 3 books should be considered one book in 3 parts, and should have been released as such.

 



Last Edited on: 6/1/12 1:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/1/2012 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
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The problem with re-reading a mystery is that you know who done it.

For those of us who have a terrible memory, this is not a problem! As my husband says, there is no reason for me to buy new books -- I should just read my favorite books over and over since I don't remember them anyway.

It's true -- this is a series I read for the characters, not the plot.

Date Posted: 6/1/2012 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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I agree with you, Deb. I was (am) so in love with the crazy March family that any lapses in plot or writing is completely overlooked. I thought Deanna Raybourn did a great job with character development and the "voice" of her writing appeals to me. There is enough wit to keep me entertained, even if things appear to go a bit wonky from time to time.

Kelly

Date Posted: 6/2/2012 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I am also heartened by your review, Letty. I finished the book today at the baseball field, and I really had a hard time getting past the anachronisms in the story.  These characters, while wearing Victorian clothes, didn't act Victorian - they all had modern sensibilities.

I know I harp on this a lot, but there was also an obvious lack of an editor.  Several times the same comment or note was made within a couple of pages.

I also found the love interest of Brisbane to be forced.

However, I adored Fleur.  I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads, and made the comment that I wasn't intrigued enough to continue with the series.  However, the comments in this thread are making me rethink that statement.

Date Posted: 6/3/2012 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
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The book did seem a bit disjointed at times and while the character development was good, certain aspects of the story development were not. A couple of times I felt like I missed something vital--and its pretty tough to go back and re-read on an ereader.  I agree with Mimi that the characters didn't always act Victorian. That didn't bother me too much and I actually found it a bit refreshing in Earl March.  I think the awkwardness of the attraction between Julia and Brisbane is Raybourn's way of portraying a "I'm attracted to him but I don't want to be attracted to him." relationship and she didn't quite get the right feel. I sort of felt like I would rather them be good friends than lovers. Hopefully she gets better at that down the line. I did like the characters very much and really liked Lady Julia's spunk. I feel that there is great potential and I do intend to continue with the series.

Date Posted: 6/3/2012 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Great recap, Terri.

 

Date Posted: 6/4/2012 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
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I agree with Terri and Mimi's "reviews" of the novel, yet I found myself liking it and I will probably read the next book in the series.

I really wanted to "fall in love'" with Brisbane, but I found the character too unbelievable.  A gypsy that happens to be a English Duke's nephew as well as a psychic, a violin master and a world class prizefighter who is also a private investigator?!? (I see him as a crazed Robert Downey JR. on steroids.)  Not my type. Maybe in the next book of the series we will find out if he is Lady Julia's type!

Date Posted: 6/17/2012 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Just finished it this afternoon.  I also had trouble with the writing style.  I actually figured out early in the book who the murderer was, but I had totally the wrong reason.  I thought Simon killed Edward because he was in love with Julia and knew Edward was being unfaithful to her.  So I was a wee bit off with my motive!  There were lots of little pieces that didn't fit for me.  Maybe it's because I read a lot of the middle part of the book in little bits at bed time. I tend to miss a lot of details when I read like that.  She seemed to make you infer what was happening and then confirm it a few or several pages later.  Like after Nicholas chased Julia down at the gypsy camp, you are pretty sure he kissed her in the woods but not positive until she mentions it a few pages later. So after she mentioned the inscription on the back of the painting being the thing that convinced her about Simon, I kept waiting to see what the inscription was, but she never said.

But it was a fun, summer read and I'll probably return to the next books sometime soon. 

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 5:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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I finished the book after putting it aside several times to read other things.  I thought the plot had some problems – losing some impetus through the middle - but I loved the characters and plan to read more in this series. 

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 6:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I would like to ask those who have gone on with the series if they felt the writing improved?

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,468
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I definitely felt like the writing improved. The characters remained whacky and engaging and the mystery aspect definitely improved. It must have, for me to read 4 of the 5 books already! lol!

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Wow Jeanne!  You little reading dynamo.   DR is working on a Christmas novella.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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Interesting comments.  I started reading the book a year or two ago but quit at about half.  It's good to know that it wasn't entirely "just me".   I'm not much for  mysteries (I never care about the mystery itself in HM) nor on the Regency era.  For historical mystery, so far only Westerson and SKP have held me enough to continue their series in perpetuity. They both write well and hold very tightly to the feel of their periods and do NOT give me niggly "too modern" feelings.  That was the kiss of death for Silent in the Grave: it felt too modern. 



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 1:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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I've really enjoyed most of the HM I've read, but then I read them mostly for entertainment. It's a good thing that there are so many options out there, so that every taste in books can be satisfied! yes



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 1:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/19/2012 8:07 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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I was reading this and the sequels for pure escapism, and wasn't being analytical at all.  The plot didn't matter as much as the characters, so I feel in step with others here.  I do think the writing improved; I just started the 5th book this morning.  It's hard for me to read a series straight through, and only Crispin Guest and Abel Jones enticed me to do so, until now.  I'm much more involved in Julia and her family than in the mystery.

I will say I liked Dark Road to Darjeeling the best of the first four.  

ETA: You do need to suspend your disbelief, that's for sure.  But I like to think there may have been a few "modern" thinkers during that era!  wink



Last Edited on: 6/19/12 8:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/19/2012 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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But I like to think there may have been a few "modern" thinkers during that era!

I was thinking that same thing yesterday!  I think its also why my favorite of the historical romance writers is Julia Quinn.  Her girls are always a little modern.   I actually like the juxtaposition of the modern attitudes against the historical settings.

Date Posted: 6/19/2012 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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How else would women have made the "strides" they did were it not for some modern thinkers?

Date Posted: 6/19/2012 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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One or two modern views works fine when for there is REASON for such a view.  And when there is consequence to it.  That's why Ariana Franklin's worked for me for as long as it did. But when the overall outlook feels modern, I lose interest. 

Date Posted: 6/28/2012 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Okay, I finished.  As I mentioned in the thread for the immediately preceeding chapters, I was totally "eh" on this one and the ending didn't do much to make me like it better.

On the down side, I found it really boring.  There was a whole lot of storytelling involving Julie brooding over her wardrobe, discussing household matters with the staff and in general mooning about the house.  There was zero suspense, and I found I didn't really care who killed Edward or why.  As has been mentioned by others, I also found the writing somewhat disjointed.  Most importantly, I had zero interest in or affection for Brisbane.  He's one of the main characters!  Perhaps as his whole story unfolds and his character develops in the subsequent books I could come to like him more, but as of the ending of this one, I could give a fig if I ever meet up with him in a book again.  I agree that Julia's attraction to him seemed forced.  It's obviously a case of "I'm attracted, but I don't want to be attracted," but honestly, that even seemed forced, and since I personally didn't like Brisbane, I couldn't understand why Julia would even want to be attracted to him. I also didn't like how the ending, with the revelation of the killer and the motive, didn't make me go, "Doh!  Now I see it!"  I love it when the author sets you up and places clues throughout the book that, if you're like me, you totally miss, but once all is made clear, you realize how much the author pointed you in the right direction.  I don't want the solution to a mystery to be blatantly obvious, but clues sprinkled here and there make it much more enticing.  At no point in the book did I really even speculate who the killer was.  I had passing thoughts, but nothing like, "Ooooh, ooooh, I know, I know!  I bet it's X!"

On the up side, I did like many of the characters, especially Julia, Earl March, Aquinas, Portia and Fluer, and for the most part I liked Julia's "voice" that the author told the story with.  I found her very urbane and witty. 

I discovered I have the second book in the series.  Will I read it or not?  I'm not sure.  I probably will at some point, but right now, I'm feeling no great desire.  Perhaps we could make the second book a future RAL.  That would probably motivate me to give it a spin!

Thanks for the RAL, guys!

Date Posted: 6/28/2012 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Good idea Shelley, since many of us got the bundle of the first 3 books on Nook or Kindle.