I read too much and review too little. Or so it would seem. I think reading is one of life's most simple yet most fantastic pleasures (could you imagine what life would be like if you could not read?), so in 2013 I aim to share with you my thoughts on the books I've read a little more often.
I've chosen for my first review of 2013 a book I actually read last year, but I've chosen it because I think it makes fantastic summer reading for those in the Southern Hemisphere, and will have anyone in the wintery North pining for the warmth of endless summer days, which - at present - must feel like an age away.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The heat of an Indian summer, the exotic beauty of a valley in the jungle, and the possibility of a homicide make for an entirely unique and gripping mix in the fourth novel in Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey series.
Dark Road to Darjeeling sees Lady Julia and her husband, Nicholas Brisbane, embark on a journey into the depths of the Indian jungle to investigate the mysterious death of their friend's husband, heir to the Cavendish Tea Plantation.
Julia and Brisbane are joined by Julia's siblings, Plum and Portia, and along with an array of new, fascinating characters there is also the pleasure of being reunited with some old ones in the most unexpected ways.
The sun-drenched location of the tea plantation in mid-summer is in stark contrast to the dark and brooding setting of the Yorkshire Moors in book #3 (Silent on the Moor). In a way, the bright optimism of a new beginning for Julia and Brisbane is reflected in the warmth and beauty of the setting, yet Julia is fast learning that even the most beautiful surroundings can harbour the most shocking of secrets - and her husband has many.
Courageous and stubborn, Julia insists on involving herself in her husband's work, and for her own safety Brisbane has to concede that she must be taught the tricks of his trade. However, there is still much that Julia has to learn and a remote plantation on the road to Darjeeling is a dangerous place for a novice when there's a murderer on the loose.
Raybourn has - yet again! - effortlessly drawn me into the thrilling world of Lady Julia Grey and her fascinating investigator husband. This is a truly captivating novel that transports the reader to the exotic wonder and danger of 19th Century Colonial India. A murder investigation, a guru, peacocks and a man-eating tiger make Dark Road to Darjeeling a most enjoyable read.