Memorable quotes from somewhere in the middle of a book: Silent Night by Deanna Raybourn

From Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas NovellaSilentNightLadyJulia by Deanna Raybourn.

This particular passage takes place as the Lady Julia, her husband Nicholas Brisbane, her sister Portia, and her sister’s adopted child, Jane, are gathering to drive out to the March estate in Sussex for Christmas.

Portia plucked [Jane] from the pram and shoved her into my arms. “Say hello to Auntie Julia, darling.”

Jane the Younger stopped howling long enough to lunge for my earring.

“Such good taste,” I murmured, prying at the chubby little fist.

“Yes, she has developed a penchant for things that sparkle,” Portia said, applying herself to her daughter’s miserly clutch. “Darling, you must let go of Auntie Julia’s ear. No, stop twisting it, my pet. Auntie Julia is starting to cry. Julia, stop being so melodramatic. It is just an earring.”

What I love about this passage is that there are actually very few action statements in it. The actions and responses of the various characters are reported primarily through Portia’s running commentary. And yet, I can picture so clearly exactly what happened and how it must have felt to all involved. Beautifully done, Ms. Raybourn.

Merry Christmas!


About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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One Response to Memorable quotes from somewhere in the middle of a book: Silent Night by Deanna Raybourn

  1. Pingback: Writing advice from somewhere in the middle of a great book: Barry Hughart Edition | BostonWriters

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