?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

Dark Road to Darjeeling
Deanna Raybourn
This is a review of an eARC I received from the publisher.

Dark Road to Darjeeling
is the fourth book in one of my favorite series. Here are my reviews of the first three books:
Book 1: Silent in the Grave -http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
Book 2: Silent in the Sanctuaryhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg
Book 3: Silent on the Moor - http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg

 

***** There are minor spoilers for earlier books in this review ****


The Premise: Lady Julia Grey and her now-husband Nicolas Brisbane have been honeymooning for 8 months, when her sister Portia and brother Plum cross paths with them in Cairo. Portia's former lover Jane has written from India with the news that she's pregnant and now a widow. She doesn't explicitly say it, but Portia senses that there is something wrong in her letters and suspects foul play in the death of Jane's husband Freddie Cavendish. So of course, Julia and Brisbane, Portia and Plum journey to India, to give Jane support during the last few months of her pregnancy and to secretly investigate the possibility of Cavendish's murder.

Read an excerpt of Dark Road to Darjeeling here

My Thoughts: As with the earlier books, the writing beautifully describes a setting that's in a different place and time, in this case a valley isolated from the world where Jane now resides in a tea estate: "The Peacocks is the name of the estate, a tea garden on the border of Sikkim, outside of Darjeeling, right up in the foothills of the Himalayas.”

Here, a small English community lives - the Cavendishs who own the plantation (Harry is the late Freddie's younger brother, and Camellia Cavendish is their aunt and runs the household), the White Rajah (a mysterious older man who lives in a ruined monastery above the valley), the Pennyfeathers (a clergyman, his free-spirited artist wife Cassandra and two children Primrose and Robin), Dr Llewellyn (a grieving man who lost his wife after a tiger attack), and finally Lucy and Emma Phipps, cousins to the Marches (last seen in the second book of the series). Surrounding these are their numerous servants, including twins sisters Lalita, a cook, and Miss Thorne, governess to the Pennyfeather children.

As Julia and the others make acquaintances with those around them, it becomes clear that the mystery of Freddie's death is going to be a tough one. Almost everyone could have had a reason or the means to have killed him, if in fact he was murdered. Officially he died of an infection after being bitten by a small, usually harmless snake, not something that would typically kill a healthy man, but India is a place where such things happen. In fact, as I kept reading this book, it began to feel like the valley is not kind at all to those who settle there.  One tragedy or another seems to have befallen everyone there, particularly the English.

In the meantime, the honeymoon is over for Brisbane and Julia, and the two are trying to figure out the compromises that make up married life, without being the one who actually makes the compromise! These two are as as in love as ever, but they're clearly human. Julia wants to be a partner in Brisbane's investigations, while Brisbane wants his wife to stay away from danger. This is probably the first book where I really thought about the problems in both of their perspectives, and I felt like neither was truly right or wrong. I think before this book, I was with Julia in expecting that she should be able to investigate, but now I see where Brisbane comes from. On the other hand, both characters also do things that probably aren't best for their marriage when they try to exert their will over the other. Brisbane continues with his mind games to keep Julia out of trouble, while Julia hides things from Brisbane in order to "win" the race to figure out the mystery and prove she's an equal. Clearly these characters are imperfect and I like that they have a lot of room to grow, but I the previous books didn't leave me as frustrated with Brisbane and Julia as much as Dark Road to Darjeeling did. It left me with a generally perturbed feeling to uncover their shortcomings the way they were presented here.

Overall: As I've come to expect, I liked the book: it has all the Raybourn hallmarks (lovely writing, unique characters, beautiful setting), but I didn't close the pages with the same feeling of happy satisfaction as the earlier books, so it's not my favorite of the series. Conflict and the overall tragic events put this volume into a "bittersweet" category. Compared to the earlier books I felt unsettled after reading this one, but I still love and recommend this series, and I am looking forward to what happens next.

Buy: Amazon | Powell's | The Book Depository

Other reviews:
See Michelle Read - positive review
Tempting Persephone - positive review
Monkey Bear Reviews - B- (I'm surprised by how similar I feel to this review - read it after writing mine)
Book Harbinger - positive
Babbling about Books, and More - B

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
jmc_bks
Nov. 30th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
I keep flirting with buying this book, but somehow it never makes it onto my Kindle. Portia really got on my nerves earlier in the series and her presence in the excerpt has been enough to keep me from buying it. Should I ignore that, or is she very present through the entire book?
janicu
Nov. 30th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Portia is there, but she's sort of distracted by Jane's pregnancy. I'm not sure if that qualifies her as not being very present though.. Portia doesn't bother me so I couldn't say if she'd get on your nerves.
meganbmoore
Nov. 30th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
I...just finished drafting my post on this. I...really wish it hadn't been a "white Europeans on exotic India" book and find myself very unforgiving of the secret about his business that Brisbane has been keeping from Julia, but enjoyed it otherwise.
janicu
Nov. 30th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
I think they all sort of paid the price for being there though. And yes, I was rather Pissed Off at Brisbane. I am not quite over it either, even if Julia is (supposedly).
calico_reaction
Dec. 2nd, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
Everytime I see that cover as a mini-thumbnail, I think of Twilight.
janicu
Dec. 2nd, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
Sighhh. I don't know why they keep changing these covers. Makes me grind my teeth. I liked the original ones (like this one).
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

Other stuff

Due to spam, I've disallowed anonymous commenting. Sorry. :( If you still want to comment, please use the mirror of this blog at specficromantic.com



   
   


janicus book blog - Blogged


Latest Month

December 2016
S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com