Beyond the Pale

Dark Road to Darjeerling by Deanna Raybourn: Reader, I cried…
March 4, 2011, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Authors, Etsy, Victorian, Writers | Tags: , , ,

Last night, Deanna Raybourn made me cry.

I was going to say “not deliberately, of course”, but it was deliberate! Quite purposefully done, indeed. Disgraceful behaviour.

I finally got to finish reading Dark Road to Darjeerling – Raybourn’s fourth book in the Lady Julia series, which, to date, has been the most gripping series of novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I say ‘finally’ finished, as it’s been sitting beside my bed, looking at me in a disappointed manner, for the last few weeks. Tsk.

Vintage Coalport Indian Tree teacup & saucer from Elmstreet Market: $39 One of my favourite things is to cosy up with a cup of tea & a good book. This would be a fabulously extravagent way to enjoy a brew, I love the bold pattern & colours.


Organic Darjeerling Tea by Peacelovetea: $10 I drink both tea and coffee, but forced to pick, it would be tea every time. Tea, chocolate and a good book is my idea of Heaven.

It certainly hasn’t been lack of interest keeping me from reading it – I’ve practically been slavering to get my hands on it since finishing the third one – but I’ve had so much work reading to do (for various articles hither & thither) that I’ve had no time for pleasure-reading. For shame!

Embroidered Indian Slippers at Tati Tati Vintage: $25 Perfect for adding an exotic touch to your breakfasting or lounging-about ensemble, and far more stylish than fluffy bunny slippers, non?


50 Vintage Indian stamps at Precious Owl: $4.00 - The colours of these vintage stamps are amazing, I think they'd look really good grouped together as shown and framed, or for use in a craft project. They range in date from the early 1900's to the middle of the century. Little pieces of history.

For the last couple of weeks, though, I’ve had a trapped nerve in my back, and that has forcibly slowed me down & given me time to catch-up with some old friends.


Vintage Indian Cricket Box from Nonnie60: $18 Maybe I wouldn't keep crickets in it; I'm thinking more along the lines of perfume bottles on a dressing table, or scented soaps in a bathroom. I'm all for re-using beautiful and unusual objects in unexpected ways.


Decorative Peacocks Card by With an Indian Touch: $4.00 This card is designed by Radhika, a Textile Designer from India who's now settled in Canada. I'd be very tempted to frame this instead of giving it to someone!

I don’t want to say too much about Lady Julia Grey, Brisbane, Plum, Portia, Jane and the host of eccentric family members, friends and enemies that dog their every step, other than to say they are some of my favourite people to spend time with (in print). 🙂

Her Lover Returns, 1871 Illustration from Surrender Dorothy: $16:89 Another quirky illustration I couldn't resist. Don't buy utterly dull generic posters & mass-produced prints - source unusual pieces like this to frame. Love her wistful facial expression. She's waiting for some no-good bounder, I bet. This could only be improved by having her hand to her forehead, I think!

Vintage Anglo-Indian Hair comb from Elronds Emporium: $25 On Bad Hair Days (of which I have many), I'm a big fan of twisting it into a chignon or bun and shoving a pretty clip to hold it. You usually get the most compliments on the least you've done to your hair, don't you find? This comb is simply stunning.

You don’t have to have read the others books in the series to enjoy Dark Road to Darjeerling, but I would say it vastly improves (obviously) your understanding of the nuances between the various relationships, and merely for your own bring-out-the-smelling-salts swoonsome enjoyment of following the romance between Julia and Brisbane. Just go and read them all.

Temple at Dusk by Adix1977: $38 This is an original watercolour painting, signed by the artist, who was born & raised in Bombay. I love the feeling of mystery - wanting to climb over the wall and explore, and the beautiful way she's captured the light.

Whiting & Davis Mesh Snake Bracelet from Collectible Oddities: $47 I hate snakes, but have always loved snake jewellery - especially bracelets. Go figure, as our American chums would likely say. I can see this one worn high-up on the arm, with a floaty maxi dress. Adorable.

Dark Road to Darjeerling was certainly worth waiting for. All the elements were there – murder, mystery, murky family secrets, all in a wonderfully realised exotic location and laced with Raybourn’s eye for detail and that great balance of darkness and light I love so much.

Set of 100 Peacock Place Cards by Timeless Paper: $100 These are so pretty and unusual - great for a theme based around peacock feathers.

Peacock Print by Berkley Illustrations: $18 Another peacock-themed item - I just love Berkley Illustrations, they're full of so much character. This chap looks so dignified.

Some writers really struggle with one voice or the other, Funny v Serious, but Deanna Raybourn seems to glide effortlessly from one to the other, with great fistfuls of breathtaking plot along the way.

Oh, okay. About the crying, then.

Darjeerling Tea Silhouette by Barking Mad Arts: $15 This wonderfully eccentric silhouette really puts me in mind of a particular character, and I just love it. Would definitely give this wall-space!

Antique Crocodile French Doctor's Bag from Sally Luv Rose: $75 - I know it isn't as practical as modern luggage, but vintage pieces like this are so romantic looking. I wonder where this bag has travelled to and what it has seen?

Again, I cannot go into details for fear of spoiling the dénouement, but there is a particular scene in which Something Happens, and a short speech one of the leading characters gives in order to help another leading character deal with the aftermath [please forgive such convoluted ways of avoiding spoilering!] and it was at this point I cried. The whole scene was handled with such overwhelming tenderness it just broke my heart.

Victorian Lady Photographs from Precious Playtime: $13 There's something that always fascinates me about old photos - wondering who they are, what happened to them, what they were thinking when the photograph was taken...

Mini Indian Spice Kit by Purpose Design: $12 A great gift for someone who loves cooking, perhaps to give alongside an Indian cookbook. My favourite flavours, hands down.

After reading the third in the series – Silent on the Moor – I was inspired to write a post in which I breathlessly exclaimed how much I loved the novel; and went on to specially create an Etsy Treasury based on it (a themed selection of items currently available from sellers on the shopping site, Etsy).

I really enjoyed putting that collection together, and thought I’d like to do the same for Dark Road to Darjeerling. So I did. If you click on that link, it will whisk you to the full-sized Treasury, which is a bit easier to browse through at your leisure.

Hope you enjoy my selection of goodies, which are scattered throughout this post, as you may have seen, and which are presented as the full Treasury, below. Do have a good ol’ rummage through the rest of the items the shops have to offer- I was quite spoiled for choice! 🙂


11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

So wonderful. I love Deanna’s books, especially the Julia Grey series. These items are gorgeous. I’m in love with the silver hair comb.

Comment by Ali

I agree – such a great read and well worth the waterworks – can’t wait for the next one. I know authors try to write in a way that you don’t have to read the preceeding books but who on earth would want to pick up a book in the middle of the series???

Comment by Malita

I just love her books 🙂 Occasionally I’ve accidentally picked up a book that’s in the middle of a series (without knowing), but it soon becomes clear, I think, and at that point I just have to stop reading and go and get the books in the correct order! 😉

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

That’s excellent! (As was the book.)

My favorites were the peacock print and the Darjeeling Tea silhouette.

Comment by Alyssa Goodnight

Thank you! I love both those prints, there are so many talented artists on Etsy 🙂

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

Amazing! I have been saving “Dark Road to Darjeerling” to read because I love Deana’s books so, and I have been reading about a week now. What a wonderful compliment this blog is to the book and also a reinforcement that I surly did pick the right time to read! Thank you so much for it!

Comment by Holly

Aww, thank you so much 🙂 It’s definitely worth waiting for, isn’t it? I have to read books I truly know I’m going to love in the right environment/atmosphere (if you know what I mean?) If I’m too busy or stressed, I couldn’t pick up a book by a favourite author – I have to give it proper attention! 🙂

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

I loved her book too–such a beautiful setting and so much interesting plot and character development. I love your treasury–especially all the peacock items and old Indian stamps. I made a pair of earrings inspired by her book and put it in my Etsy shop, please take a look if you like:
Thank you.

Comment by Meenoo

Thank you 🙂 Wow, your earrings are absolutely gorgeous – I love how they reflect the Indian influence and the Victorian style!

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

Thank you–her books are so atmospheric it’s easy to get inspired. You always have such lovely things to look at in your blog.

Comment by Meenoo

Many thanks to everybody who commented for your lovely words! Writing that book was an amazing experience, and I’m so very glad y’all have enjoyed it.

Comment by Deanna Raybourn

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