Dark Road To Darjeeling (Lady Julia Grey #4) by Deanna Raybourn
October 1, 2010
Paperback, 400 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I thought how strange it was that I could breathe, that the birds still sang and my heart still beat, while he was not in this world. It seemed that something should have stopped…and marked the moment of his passing.”
Lady Julia Gray and detective Nicholas Brisbane are married and have spent an idyllic 8 month honeymoon abroad. But that is cut short when Julia’s eccentric sister and brother show up requesting their presences in India. Darjeerling to be exact. Portia’s former lover Lady Jane Cavendish has written to Portia expressing fear and dismay that her husband may have been murdered and she fears she and her unborn child are in next. When the entourage arrives, Lady Julia finds secrets and deception flourish in the lush and exotic locale. As Lady Julia and Brisbane search deeper to find the snake in paradise they will have to be careful not to get bitten themselves.
This is my first foray into Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia series. I have not read her previous books but having heard wonderful things about it, I decided to give it a try when it was offered for review. I found it to be an enjoyable and humorous Victorian romantic suspense that revolves around two independent and VERY stubborn characters-the former widow Lady Julia Grey and her now husband Nicholas Brisbane, private inquiry agent.
Lady Julia and Brisbane have been overseas for 8 months on theirhoneymoon when they are set upon by Julia’s siblings; her sister Portia and her brother Plum. They are on route to India and want the Brisbane’s to follow. Portia has been receiving letters from her former lover, Lady Jane Cavendish, that have her worried. Lady Jane left Portia to marry Freddie Cavendish because her need for child outweighed her love for Portia. But Freddie has mysteriously died and Jane fears it was not an accident. Brisbane has serious issues with Julia investigating anything and upon arguing, Julia leaves Brisbane in Calcutta and arrives with only her siblings at the Cavendish Tea plantation.
Once arriving, Julia sets out to investigate the aspects of Freddie’s death and meet the inhabitants of the area. She soon finds that things and people are not what they seem on or around the plantation. From annoying peacocks to slightly sketchy relatives, Julia realizes that she maybe in over her head. Once Brisbane arrives, we are given more clues to his and Julia’s marriage and the strain that is apparent between them.
Dark Road To Darjeeling is a character driven book. Well written with an engaging storyline. While the mystery of the book is pleasant and certainly kept me in the dark; it was more due to the emphasis placed on Julia’s impressions of the people she comes into contact with. We follow Julia so we only see, hear, and experience what she does. It was interesting the way it is presented. As she investigates and follows her leads, I was amazed at how much she kept from Brisbane. She truly wants to be all of his life which includes his detective agency; but I couldn’t help but feel she was selfish in her bid to remain independent. He is as closed mouth as she is but I felt some of that was more of a way to annoy to Julia then a facet of his personality. His own demons place strain on the marriage but their love shines through as they finally give voice to their misgivings. You know it won’t be easy for them-such strong personalities; but the journey will be an exciting one.
The secondary characters are quite a mix; bringing humor, deception, and misgivings to the story. Ms. Raybourn does an excellent job crafting and fleshing out each individual through Julia’s eyes. The dialogs between Julia and her siblings are hilarious. The love and exasperation is there for all to see. I enjoyed how everyone just accepts Portia and Jane. It was refreshing to see it all in the open with no misgivings. The dialog between Julia and Brisbane is very intense. More often then not they start saying things that will have you waving your hands in the air saying, “Don’t go there….don’t go there….OMG… they went there.”
About halfway through the story slowed down considerably for me. Again, everything is experienced through Julia so we are subjected to long conversations and observations as she attempts to figure out Freddie’s death. You also encounter some scenes that seem misplaced within the storyline. I did not really understand why they were included as they didn’t have any bearing on the story. Perhaps they were pertinent to previous books but seemed out of place here. As we near the end, the action picks up and we are thrown down the rabbit hole with some shocking conclusions. The circumstances revolving around Freddie’s death kept me in the dark till the very end.
All in all Dark Road To Darjeeling was an interesting read. I’m sure to look for more of Ms. Raybourn’s books in the future.
This Series Includes
Silent in the Grave
Silent in the Sanctuary
Silent in the Moor
Dark Road to Darjeeling