In this second installment, Lady Julia returns to her father’s home in Sussex for Christmas after a six-month sojourn in Italy. While there, she is reunited with Brisbane, a dashing, yet frustrating, investigator whom she had assisted following the murder of her husband. Unfortunately, their reunion is not a happy one as Brisbane introduces his new fiancée, Charlotte King, to Julia.
The awkwardness is soon forgotten, though, as one of the Christmas guests is brutally murdered, and one of Julia’s poor cousins confesses to the crime and calls for sanctuary. Her wish is granted. Julia’s father grants the girl sanctuary, and a snowstorm helps seal the deal as no one can get in or out of the abbey.
There are a lot of twists and turns as this murder mystery meets with subplots involving thievery, gypsies, ghosts, and a large taxidermied bear named Maurice. There’s almost too much going on, and at times the story resembles a slightly more grown-up version of Scooby-doo, complete with someone running around in a sheet with eye-holes cut out. At times, the main plot gets a bit lost in some of these more minor goings-on, and the sudden twists that happen with the main story are enough to give a reader a bit of whiplash. “This is the back-story.” “No, there’s more to it, this is more back-story.” “Oh that was just a rouse; the real back-story is THIS!”—which does happen quite a bit in mystery novels, it just seemed to happen one too many times in this particular story.
Not to say that the ride isn’t fun though. I still thoroughly enjoyed reading Silent in the Sanctuary. The setting is gorgeous and the characters are enthralling. The stories are interesting, and have the perfect mix of humor and romance sprinkled throughout. After only reading two books, I am deeply invested in the ongoing story of Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane and will definitely continue reading the series. I look forward to checking out book number three, Silent on the Moors.