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 cloisters. Much to her surprise, the one man she had 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 ghastly 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 a 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: **spoiler alert**
Please remember that this is all my opinion of the book. You might not agree and that is okay. To each their own. 🙂 I really, really wanted to like this book. I was hoping that the author would create a better story with more enriched characters. Instead we get this…. I just don’t understand, Lady Julia is 30 something years old (as said in the book) and yet she acts like a child. Oh no the guy I kissed once and who hasn’t sent me any letters in 6 months is engaged! How could this be? There must be something going on because there is no way that he could like this little petite beauty who is so cheerful and talkative. There is just no way that he could really want to marry her! Then she goes back and forth from crying and being snide to disbelief that it must be part of a bigger picture. So lets start with the not talking to her in months. He sent her a gift when she was leaving for Italy, she could have sent him something saying thank you then talking to him herself since she is supposed to be this strong character. I know that most women at the time wouldn’t have put themselves out there like that, but the author pointed out how forward thinking Lady Julia and her family are. Then how she acts toward Brisbane just reminds me of those silly girls high school who would get upset when the guy they like started dating someone else. “Well I didn’t tell him how I feel about him, but how dare he not know what I was thinking and thus dating me instead.” Just drove me crazy throughout the whole book. But I think that the worst part is that Lady Julia starts to see what kind of man Sir Cedric is and doesn’t say anything. They are supposed to be this large, caring family and they just let Lady Lucy go with him without saying or doing anything. Then Aunt whats her face tells Julia that she is sure Lady Emma killed the other aunt because she wouldn’t let her marry this guy from India, so she kills her aunt on the ship ride back. And Lady Julia does nothing. Yes, I know she told her aunt that she wouldn’t, but that doesn’t stop her from telling secrets to other people. Why would she just let that slide? She didn’t question Emma at all, or confide in her father. Then surprise, surprise, when Sir Cedric dies, like we didn’t see that coming when they let a killer go. They were going to hang Lady Lucy for murder when she confessed to the murder. But Lady Julia doesn’t seem to beat up over the fact that she is partly to blame for another man’s death. But she is more worried about going to Brisbane’s new house in a few months when she reads a letter that he sent to her sister Portia saying no to bring Lady Julia when she comes to help him decorate his new estate. Ya, who cares about the girl who murdered two people (yes Sir Cedric needed it) when there is a trip to be made. She is just like aww shucks, I messed that up, but there is nothing I can do now. So what did that letter say? The whole book wasn’t bad, the murder mystery stuff was good which is why the book got a two stars instead of one. And the writing was better in this book compared to the author’s first book. I was just not thrilled with the content of the book. I have yet to decide if I want to read the other books in the series. I might read some other books and come back to this series later and try it again.