Narrated by Ellen Archer
I normally avoid novellas; they’re just too short for me. I like to learn more about the characters than is revealed in a novella. But in the case of a well-loved series I’ll make an exception. I’m a major fan of the Lady Julia series and have enjoyed Ellen Archer’s narration of previous entries, so listening to this was an easy decision.
Lady Julia hoped to spend Christmas alone with her husband Brisbane in Italy. Instead they end up spending the holidays with Lady Julia’s large family – and their assorted animals – at her father’s estate. Ms. Archer does a masterful job distinguishing between all of the characters – and there are a lot of them.
Lady Julia has a proper upper-class English accent. Brisbane is half-gypsy, half Scottish, and his Scottish roots come out in the voice Ms. Archer gives him. Each of Lady Julia’s relatives is given a distinctive voice, appropriate for their age and gender. Lady Julia’s sister Portia has a particularly distinctive, almost annoying, voice – higher pitched and louder than Julia’s, and a bit haughty. But it completely fits with Portia’s character.
If you’re looking for a deep dark mystery, Silent Night isn’t for you. In keeping with the Christmas season, this is definitely mystery-light. As valuable jewels go missing, most of the servants become ill, and a ghost seems to be wandering the halls. There’s a fair amount of humor and Ms. Archer lets Brisbane and Lady Julia’s amusement shine through in their voices.
If you haven’t read the rest of the series, this is no place to start. The book is filled with characters with long histories that have been developed throughout the series. For me, the joy is in visiting with Lady Julia and Brisbane again. It proved to be a great, quick listen for this time of year as each chapter is introduced with a line from a different Christmas carol. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will probably listen to it again as Christmas nears.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: B+ and Book Content: B