I’ve been meaning to review these books for a while but have had a number of personal family issues that have made reviewing difficult recently.
A very long time ago, I read the first books in the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn and truly enjoyed them but didn’t keep going in the series. I did pick up a couple more of them as the years went on but they were in my pile to be read and I never got to them.
In the meantime, I picked up A Murderous Relation in paperback not too long ago and read it in January. I enjoyed the two main characters, Veronica Speedwell and Stoker. They had a great relationship and the mystery they solved was intriguing and interesting.
Reading this book made me decide to dig out the other books I had by her and I started reading Dark Road to Darjeeling. As I read the first couple of chapters, I was thrown off by the fact that Lady Julie was the daughter of an earl and had siblings with her as they traveled in India. It took me a while to catch on that this was a different heroine than the one in A Murderous Relation.
I am truly not an idiot but having recently read the Murderous book, I wasn’t thinking about those older books with Lady Julia as it had been over 10 years since I read those. The two main characters in each of the book series were so alike and spoke in the same voice that it took me a while to differentiate what series I was reading.
Lady Julia is an aristocrat and the legitimate daughter of an earl. Veronica is the illegitimate child of the Prince of Wales. Veronica is a lepidopterist involved with a man name Stoker who is a jack of all trades and enjoys taxidermy. Lady Julia is a wanna-be detective married to a detective named Brisbane who has a myriad of skills like Stoker. They are both independent-minded women (which I love) and are not cowed or intimidated by strong men.
Both men are alpha types and get frustrated with the female main characters. Both are overly protective (which is right for the era) and have similar character traits.
As I read the first chapters, I kept saying, “Wait, I thought she was illegitimate and had no real relationship with her siblings.” Eventually, it dawned on me that I was reading about different characters. I laughed and said “Duh,” as I recalled the first books I had read in the Lady Julia series.
But later on, I confess, I got confused again. There was a young boy character in the Darjeeling book who collected creatures, including butterflies. My first thought was, “With her being a lepidopterist, she will be able to relate to him well.” Another duh moment. Wrong heroine.
I understand the author’s voice is the author’s voice, but I confess, the similarities of the personalities of Lady Julia and Veronica as well as similarities with both Stoker and Brisbane, I spent way too much time mulling over who was who and what series I was reading.
I very much enjoyed both books. The setting in the Himalayas in the Darjeeling book was marvelous and the brothel scenes in the Veronica book were delightful. The plots were intricate and well-done. The flow of the stories was also well done and the pacing was great. I just have to do better as I read them in the future. 🙂