Deanna Raybourn is a favourite author of mine. This time the book surpassed everything else I've read before.
Lady Julia and her two brothers are happy in Italy. After a disastrous episode Julia is just recovering both mentally and physically. Summarily summoned by their autocratic father to return at once to the family home Julia, Plum and Lysander along with his very new wife Violante start the journey home to be in time for a family Christmas.
The Christmas as described by the author was idyllic. It was a huge family Christmas with generations of the family all in one place, traditional food and very much a time of togetherness. Such a large circle will naturally include eccentrics and annoyances of all kinds and the March family are known for this. The murder of the curate of all people is puzzling but being snowbound helps when no one can either enter the house or leave.
Julia and her former love Brisbane along with the Earl have to find the reasons for this killing within their house - to also stave off the un-necessary publicity and notoriety that will definitely follow when Lucy their soon to be married cousin takes full responsibility for the killing. Trying to find out who was behind the killing is the crux of the story but what I loved a bit more was the descriptiveness found in this story.
From the domestic details of an aristocratic house of the era, to the surroundings, from the description of the countryside and even the journey from Italy to England was definitely something I could have lingered on for much more. It brought all the characters to life - as you felt you were actually present wherever the story was being set.
The romance between Julia and Brisbane remains unresolved though you do know that this has to have a happy ending in some other story. Another book maybe to look forward to.
For readers of not just murder and mystery but also those who like coming to life descriptiveness this one is for you.
Melbourne gave me wonderful crispy cold weather on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday here is a bit gloomy so I am going to stay in and read!