Jess the Romanceaholic's Reviews > The Dark Enquiry

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn
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This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

**WARNING** The Official Blurb and review for this book both contain spoilers for the previous books in the series.

Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Mira
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, Lady Julia Grey Series
Series Best Read In Order: Yes.
Steam Level: Warm

I have been a fan of the series since I picked up the first Lady Julia Grey book, SILENT IN THE GRAVE back when it first came out, so when I saw The Dark Enquiry available on Netgalley, I immediately snagged it.

Julia and Brisbane have returned to London following their year-long wedding trip and latest adventure in India. Brisbane has (very) reluctantly agreed to allow Julia to assist him in his work, provided she work with him to gain skills such as sneaking, disguise, lockpicking, weapons, and fighting. She gladly agrees, and before long, Brisbane finally allows Julia to accompany her brother Plum on an investigation in the country.

When Julia’s incredibly proper brother secretly approaches Brisbane for assistance in a private matter, Julia simply cannot keep out of things, and of course, she and Brisbane both fall easily back into old habits of his lying to her and keeping secrets, and of her sneaking about behind his back, putting herself into danger, and generally mucking everything up.

When the two of them witness a murder, however, it becomes apparent that this is far more serious an issue than the simple matter brought forth by her brother, and soon they are plunged into a miasma of blackmail, revenge, and murder.

It soon becomes apparent that if they are going to make this marriage work as well as keep each other safe, they are both going to have to truly compromise, and for the first time in their relationship, Brisbane begins to trust Julia with the seedier and more dangerous side of the private investigation business, and Julia actually begins to temper her curiosity and own up to the fact that she’s a babe in the woods when it comes to investigating.

I do think think that this book would best be read after at least one or two of the previous novels in the series (preferably the entire bunch), simply because there are so many factors from previous books that come into play. Brisbane and Julia’s relationship, his visions and headaches, Brisbane’s family, the gypsies, Portia’s child, Fleur, and of course, the March family in general, could all be overwhelming to new readers.

My favorite thing about this novel, hands down, was the fact that Brisbane has finally begun to allow Julia to work with him without trying to shelter her (as much). My favorite quote regarding this has to be from page 222, where Brisbane is speaking to Julia:

“A normal, rational, sane man who cares about the safety of his wife would lock her in the house before setting off for Highgate Cemetery. But, thanks to my long association with you and your family, I am no longer normal or rational or sane. I am composed of desperation and instinct and nothing more.”

As much as I like Julia, I actually feel a bit sorry for Brisbane. She’s so stubborn and rash and impulsive and gives so little forethought to the consequences of her own actions that it must feel like dealing with a 4 year old many times. Words truly cannot express how happy I was that they truly seemed to come to an understanding in this novel. She finally realized just how dangerous Brisbane’s occupation was, and just how her actions were affecting him, and in turn, he finally accepted that she loves him so deeply that she feels the exact same protective instincts towards him as he does towards her. His life has been so bereft of true love and affection that it’s really very hard for him to accept that Julia loves him as deeply as he loves her, but in the end I was left with a feeling he’s truly accepted her as his equal. Even though he would die to protect her, I think her actions in the end really drove the point home that he’s not alone in those feelings, and I have great hopes for their relationship in the future.

Recommended for fans of the series, of complicated murder schemes, a heroine with a quirky family, a brilliant mind and very little instinct for self-preservation, and a delicious half-gypsy hero who must finally come to terms with what it means to have a partner in marriage. 4.5/5 Stars
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