Julia Grey takes a huge risk and decides to go uninvited with her sister, Portia to Nicholas Brisbane’s new estate, Grimsgrave Manor. Her brother is horrified at her lack of decorum but after having no contact from him since their last investigation, this is her last chance to see if Brisbane is going to act upon his obvious feelings for her.
When they finally arrive in Yorkshire, things are not as she expected. The estate is falling into ruin on a bleak and inhospitable moor; surprisingly it is also occupied by the aloof women of the Allenby family. Brisbane remains secretive and elusive and quickly disappears shortly after her arrival, but it becomes clear that Brisbane and the Allenby’s have a long and bitter history. Danger, mystery and local legend intrigue Julia but she remains confused about her future with Brisbane.
This is the third in the series, and probably my least favourite...
Unfortunately it’s all a bit too Bronte for my taste (never been a huge fan of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff is NOT brooding, he’s just barbaric!) yes, the wildness of the moor and the insular atmosphere of the Manor is very well done, but it made for rather dull reading at times, particular when Brisbane is out of the picture and the story relied on the Allenby’s. The mystery was pretty easy to suss but also quite dark and sinister, again fitting with the atmosphere, but not especially engaging.
Due to the isolated setting I missed the March family and their humour, I though Bellmont’s fury at the opening was very well done, but Julia seems to become less interesting when not surrounded by her quirky family. Sadly, Portia (due to her own problems within the plot) was also reduced to a shadow of her former personality and so didn’t provide any spark!
Brisbane had flashes of brilliance, but his insistence on trying to push Julia away and the constant issue of not marrying without his own fortune became a bit wearing. I’m surprised a writer with such energy and skill would rely on such a cliché as the main character declaring the extent of her love on the hero’s deathbed, too. (Or maybe I just read too many books with similar themes?!!)
Overall, I’ve given it 4 stars – but only just! I hope the resolution of the romance between Julia and Brisbane doesn’t mean this is the end of the series, as I do want to read more…it’s just the general tone of this was a bit too solemn and lacked sparkle for me.