Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn (2008)
Description: Fresh from a six-month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia returns home to Sussex to find her father's estate crowded with family and friends-but dark deeds are afoot at the deconsecrated abbey, and a murderer roams the ancient cloister.
Much to her surprise, the one man sh ha hoped to forget-the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane-is among her father's house guests... and he is not alone. Not to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger, titled Italian count.
But the homecoming celebrations quickly take a ghostly turn when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel, and a member of Lady Julia's own family confesses to the crime. Certain of her cousin's innocence, Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again. When sudden snowstorm blankets the abbey like a shroud, it falls to Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane to answer the shriek of murder most foul.
Review: The story begins now long after the end of the previous book, Silent in the Grave. Lady Julia has been recovering from her ordeal in Italy with two of her brothers. There she has a love interest, a young Italian count. After receiving a summons from their father for Christmas, the siblings pack it up, along with Alessandro (the Italian count) and head home to England. At first, it was a nice gathering of family and friends. Brisbane was even there but he was not alone... he brought his fiance. Lady Julia was set back by this, but soon realizes there is more to meets the eye. With this motley crew all assembled, there is of course a crime to solve and a snowstorm that will ensure no one will escape. This situation causes Lady Julia and Brisbane to work together once more, and the sparks fly.
Admittedly, the book did have a slow start. However, once events went into motion I could not put the book down. Raybourn crafts such a great assortment of characters with a great mystery. I especially love trying to reason out who the culprits could be along with Lady Julia. Lady Julia's character has grown more sure of herself in this book and is really becoming a force to be reckoned with. I also enjoy the sparks that fly between Lady Julia and Brisbane. I am desperate for the next installment of this series, Silent on the Moor. A must read for both historical fiction and mystery fans.
Score: 4.5 out of 5