April 2024
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Review: The Dark Enquiry, Deanna Raybourn

the dark enquiryLady Julia and her husband Nicholas Brisbane have now returned from their honeymoon and are ready to start living their proper married life together in London. Julia has begun to tinker with substances and, as you would expect, stick her nose into Brisbane’s business once again. This time, under the guise of worrying about him and his mysterious associations with her brother, Julia tags along to a seance dressed as a man. She doesn’t find anything as simple as communion with the spirits; instead, she finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery, spy plot, and tangled love affairs between other people.

A new Lady Julia Grey novel is an intensely exciting event for me – this declared itself as one of my favorite series in book 1, Silent in the Grave, and has never budged from that position. Dark Road to Darjeeling only came out about six months ago and I am loving the shorter wait in between books of this series. The Dark Enquiry certainly did not disappoint and I am thrilled that the standards for this series haven’t dropped at all, even though we’re now on book 5.

One of the differing aspects of this particular book was the new-ish supernatural element. We’ve always known that Brisbane’s migraine headaches are a result of him refusing to see visions which are a result of his gypsy birthright. I can’t really remember them rising to the fore like they have in this one, though, perhaps because Julia was not so intimate with him when they did strike previously. Here, though, they serve a pivotal plot point, and we’ve even visited a gypsy camp with Julia and Brisbane, to explore a bit further into his past. These seem like tantalising little glimpses of a world we have yet to enter, though, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about Brisbane’s past and his visions in subsequent volumes. An interesting new character is introduced as well who I also suspect will play a prominent position in books to come.

One other aspect that I picked out of this one and particularly enjoyed was the fact that ever-impulsive and headstrong Julia comes into contact with a few less free-thinking men of her time during her investigations. As many have observed before me, Julia is very peculiar for a Victorian woman, and though it’s easy for me as a modern woman to relate to her, I think a real woman of her type would have run into this problem very quickly. The men in question don’t play a pivotal role in the story but Julia’s reaction to them and their thoughts was another added layer to a story I already enjoyed.

The Dark Enquiry is another excellent installment in the Lady Julia Grey series that I and many other readers have come to love. I would definitely recommend this series to mystery and historical fiction fans alike.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from Netgalley.


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