There is the good and there is the bad.
This book really could be worse. If you are not one for Victorian, old age settings, and reading about a woman struggling in the woes of discovering herself and dealing with the loss of her late husband then exit stage left.
If you have patience for a heroine who is a little slow but you can see has promise, then it's time to meet Lady Julia Gray. Recent widow for about a chapter before a convenient time skip, she is approached by Nicholas Brisbane.
He is a detective and is absolutely delectable.
He shows up at her doorstep claiming that her husband was receiving threatening notes before his death and that Sir Edward Gray's passing may not have been as innocent as it seemed. At first she rudely turns him away, but a year later she discovers evidence that she cannot ignore, and must ask Brisbane for his help.
I must say it's pretty obvious who the culprit is, though I certainly didn't guess all the secrets Edward and the criminal had hidden away. At times I would really grow frustrated with Julia and how dimwitted she seemed at times or how she could be so easily sidetracked. Her family The Marches, highly interested me as they are known for their eccentricity and wild ways, and I saw growing promise as Julia began to cross lines, rebel, and live up to her wild March origins.
Despite Julia's lackings, she does have a kind heart as seen in her unusual household: she has taken in her younger brother for he and their father quarrel, an outcast gypsy for her laundress, an ex-prostitute for her personal maid, and much more.
Brisbane was an absolute delight to read about as well, for he is a mystery within himself with his unusual origins, his knack for a mystery, his "gift" or "talent" as you will see, his unique acquaintances, and just his all out brutal frankness. I did mention he was delicious, yes?
His chemistry with Julia is at first rocky, but slowly progressed into, if I had to describe it, grudging interest. Nothing has come to fruit quite yet, but I have my hopes high and fingers crossed!
My review for Silent in the Sanctuary.