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A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in English and History and an emphasis on Shakespearean Studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist.
Fourteen years later, she signed a three-book deal with MIRA Books. "Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions" is how one reader has described Deanna`s debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in December 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book follows Lady Julia Grey as she investigates the mysterious death of her husband with the help of enigmatic private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave deftly captures the lush ambience of Victorian London.
The series continues with the second book, Silent in the Sanctuary (December 2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way.
Deanna lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter.
This is an excellant Victorian detective series, featuring the aristocratic Lady Julia Grey and the enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane who is a professional detective. In this book the two have at last married and are on their honeymoon. Neither are that pleased when Julia's sister Portia and their brother Plum turn up. Portia tells the Brisbanes that they must go with them to India, where Portia's former lover, Jane, needs them. Jane had married and left Portia. Her husband is now dead and Jane is pregnant. However, she suspects that her husband may have been murdered, even though his death appears natural.
The location is exotic, with descriptions of the scenery, mountains and the tea plantation. There are numerous secondary characters to engage our attention and a mystery to solve. However, to my disappointment, Brisbane becomes almost secondary himself. He's not really in the book as such after page 100 or so. Then he's not really that involved in solving the so called murder and is very much secondary to Julia's sleuthing. He and Julia spend thier time together bickering over her involvement in his cases. While Brisbane, fully aware of the dangers involved, just wants to keep her safe, Julia wants the thrill of the chase and wants to be his full partner, which to her annoyance he refuses. This causes a strain between them.
It is however, a very enjoyable book and well worth a read. I would recommend however, that you read the series in sequence.
I hope that in the next book in the series, that Brisbane takes a lead role again.
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Dark Road to Darjeeling is my first ever Deanna Raybourn read, and although I have no prior knowledge of the first three books in the series, I am looking forward to discover the undoubtedly thrilling books that began this series.
To say I've enjoyed the perfect mix of mystery and romance of this novel is to say very little of the wonderful elements of this book. Often when I read historical romance novels, the blend of romance and mystery is very poor, the mystery being much overshadowed by romance - not in this book. In Dark Road to Darjeeling, mystery and adventure is well ingrained within the romantic plot and vice versa - I doubt you can get better than this.
I personally loved the enigmatic, stubborn and unruly Julia - together with her sister Portia and brother Plum, they become a hugely entertaining trio which I don't think I can ever get tired of reading. Their banters are witty yet endearing, and they complement each other in a way only siblings can. Superb characters!
And while on the subject, let me also say that Brisbane - and Julia does refer to him by his last name despite being the new Mrs Brisbane herself - is another wholly engaging characters. I have not quite known him from the previous books, as I have mentioned, but he is undoubtedly magnetic, with a rough exterior of a man with secrets to protect. Julia and Brisbane are a gorgeous couple - they are, in many ways, an equal. Both stubborn, both brilliant and equally passionate, they often clash in wills and personality. Their marriage - no matter how in love these two are - is not a smooth road, despite their luxurious eight-month, around the world honeymoon. The adjustments that both have to make in the marriage is well portrayed, as well as their need to accept each other as they are.Read more ›
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First Sentence: "I thought there would be camels," I protested.
The honeymoon of Lady Julia Grey and enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane has been interrupted by the arrival of Julia's sister, Portia, and brother, Plum. Jane, Portia's lover of many years, desperate to have a child, married moved to a tea plantation in India and is pregnant. She is also a widow, her husband having died under somewhat suspect circumstances. If Jane's impending child is male, he will be the heir to the plantation. Julia, Nicholas, Portia and Plum must keep Jane and the child safe as well as uncover a murderer, had it been murder.
It takes a very good book to keep me reading until 3 a.m. This book did just that.
Ms. Raybourn creates wonderful characters. Where Lady Julia starts off feeling reckless and stubborn, and her husband, Nicholas, overbearing and harsh, there is growth within the story where both characters learn and gain an understanding both to each other and to the reader. Julia's sister Portia, brother Plum, maid Morag, and all the secondary characters have weight and substance. None of the characters are two-dimensional extras; rather each plays an important role in the development of the plot.
The use of humor is delightful. It is often used to define the characters and relationships. When Portia is confronted by a less-than-fragrant smell, she states, "Julia, we are Englishwomen. We are not cowed by a little authentic local flavor." Raybourn's voice and dialogue effect a feeling both character and of period. In addition to which her excellent descriptions establish a strong sense of place and time.
Although one could consider this romantic suspense, it is not a fluffy book and has more layers than most. One should not dismiss it casually.Read more ›
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