Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

For Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane, the honeymoon has ended…but the adventure is just beginning.

After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia’s eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband’s family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her child—and with discovering the truth about her husband’s death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?

Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary. (from netgalley.com)

*Spoiler Alert! If you have not read Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, and especially Silent on the Moor then beware! I will be discussing goings on from those books in this review.*

Dark Road to Darjeeling is the fourth book in Deanna Raybourn's fab Lady Julia Grey series. Ever since I read the ending of Silent on the Moor and made that my girly *sigh*, I have been impatiently eagerly awaiting this story. It felt like I would be getting the "what comes next" after a happily ever after ending and I was excited. Julia and Brisbane marry at the end of Moor, but what was going to happen to their relationship? Would it change like a tv show that has given in and lost its sexual tension and sizzle? (I seriously doubted that one.) How would they handle working together if they even continued to do so? Would Brisbane still manage to stay mysterious, even to Julia? Would every aspect that I love about the first three books disappear now that they're married? Yes, I wondered all these things. I'm obsessive like that.

I wrote in the end of July that I bought a nook, my reason being that I had just received this ebook from Netgalley.com and was desperate to read it asap. I  proceeded to burn through the first ninety-four pages that first night and then...nothing. I stalled. I was shocked because I wasn't loving what was happening (I had hit a slow part) and Julia and Brisbane weren't together at the time (not good) and so I got a bit scared. Raybourn wouldn't dare split them up or something equally awful, would she? I left Dark Road to Darjeeling alone for at least three weeks while I stewed about it but today I took a deep breath and dove back in and I am so glad I did. Dark Road to Darjeeling is just as good as the first three and I am relieved.

Julia, Brisbane, Julia's maid Morag (love her), and two of Julia's siblings, Plum and Portia, head to India at the end of the Brisbanes' honeymoon to see Jane, Portia's former lover. Jane's husband has died suddenly and mysteriously, leaving Jane alone and pregnant in a remote part of India and Portia, believing that Jane is in danger, has beseeched her sister and Brisbane to go with her to investigate. Right off the bat we see that married life beyond the honeymoon is not going to be easy for Julia and Brisbane when he refuses to go with them, claiming that Julia just assumes that he will do as she pleases since she didn't consult with him before agreeing to go with Portia. He would rather attend to some business in Calcutta and will catch up later.

Julia and Brisbane both discover that they have quite a bit to learn about marriage. Hiding things from one another is not a good way to stay happily married. For Julia, she's still insecure because of her first marriage and much of her relationship with Brisbane involves his work. She wants to please him and more importantly, to impress him and be worthy and in doing so she loses her perspective on the kind of dangerous work he does. Julia wants to prove her mettle by being the first to solve this mystery so she doesn't tell Brisbane everything she learns. Brisbane has a clear motive for every action he takes but is sometimes careless with Julia's feelings when it comes to his methods. Nicholas Brisbane is not the sort of man to always worry about bruised feelings as long as the ends justify the means; for example if, in his endeavors to keep Julia safe he leads her to believe certain things while not outright lying to her, that would be acceptable even if she is humiliated as long as she's not physically hurt. (Note to Brisbane: women don't like to be managed.) These two obviously love each other and that's what's important. As is forgiveness. What I can't wait to see is the two of them in their natural habitat. That's going to be fun.

Again, Raybourn proves that she is still Clever. With a capital C. While I had problems with a lack of patience on my part, this was a decent mystery in a mysterious place. I was all about everything Brisbane :) I'm still digesting the resolution and guilty parties as well as the familial revelations. Good stuff there. There were several moments in this book where I was completely dumbfounded and I loved that! I was also at times angry or saddened but my favorite part of these Raybourn books is the humor, that intellectual dry humor that is always present in the scenes with the March family, Julia and Portia in particular. Julia's kooky family, in all their splendiferousness, is truly a "sight" to behold. We only get a small measure of it here but it's probably better in small portions anyway. Follow the link below to Angieville for an excerpt from early on in DRtD. I keep returning to it and it still makes me laugh each time.

Dark Road to Darjeeling will be out on October 1, 2010. Look for it a few weeks early. Book five, out next year I hope, should take place in London. I hope we get to see the hermit.

Other reviews:
http://angieville.blogspot.com/2010/08/dark-road-to-darjeeling-by-deanna.html
http://theallureofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-dark-road-to-darjeeling-by.html

7 comments:

Jen the bibliophile said...

What Larissa Lone series? And you are right, I do have nothing better to do. :D Okay, maybe I do, but I keep telling myself I don't. I'm trying to use my powers of persuasion for a book addiction.

Jen

Jen said...

The Larissa Ione series with that book I reviewed, Pleasure Unbound? You'll like it :)

Angiegirl said...

Thanks for linking! And I'm so relieved this one came through for you in the end.

Jen said...

Me too. *grin*

Jen the bibliophile said...

You know what the funniest part is? I just realized it was Larissa Ione and that series was the one I commented on. I have been seeing it other places and I've been so curious. I'm adding it to my TBR and seeing if the library has it! Yeah, I'm so excited!

Jen
In the Closet With a Bibliophile

Jen said...

Glad you figured that out :) I think you'll like her books too.

Jen the bibliophile said...

I'm a total nerd! Took me long enough huh!?

Jen
In the Closet With a Bibliophile