12 January 2012


India Dark
Author: Kirsty Murray
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Templar
UK Release date: 5th January 2012
Genre: Historical
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

It was 1909 when Posey Swift left Australian shores to tour America with the Lilliputian troupe, filled with dreams of singing and dancing her way across the country. But as funds run low and the Lilliputian group detours across South East Asia, the children find themselves fighting against the company owner Mr Arthur. How far will the children go to protect their rights, their freedom and get back home?

Review: Based on a true story, India Dark is set in a time when travel to different countries was limited to the rich or the British Empire army, and encounters with people of different cultures and heritages was rare. For the children in the Lilliputian dance and musical theatre troupe, their travels to South-East Asia and India open their eyes to different worlds, and the narrative has been written to encapsulate this and ensnare the reader’s senses and bring alive a land of foreign and beautiful wonders. The harsh treatment of the children did impinge on my enjoyment of the country’s wonders but it made me understand why many of the children began to hate certain parts of India, associating them with maltreatment and negative experiences.

The story is told from two perspectives: Posey Swift, a young and naive girl of 13 who is making her first journey with the Lilliputians, and 15 year old Tilly Sweetrick, who is much more world-wise and on her second tour. I liked Tilly because she was transparent in what she wanted, and saw people for what they really were, but she verged on manipulative and harsh. On the other hand, Posey was just so sweet and innocent, but didn’t realise what was going on around her or how her behaviour might affect others. Although it could be a little confusing trying to keep up with whose narrative I was reading, I think the story benefited hugely from the dual perspective. The fact that the two girls had different experiences of the tour and were completely different characters, helped me see what happened from different viewpoints and sympathise with different characters.

Like Posey, I fell for Charlie, as his interest in magic and the Indian fakirs (magicians) was really exciting. Reading about the illusions with mango trees growing on stage felt so magical, and I could see why he was entranced by the mysterious of India. He was also able to stay out of the fights and seemed wise beyond his years. The fact that he would dress like the locals and sneak out to see the real India was very courageous and rebellious (for a boy of 13), and I really admired that in him.

Starting in the courtroom, the story jumps back to before the children set off on their long journey, and follows them as things go from bad to worse. The plot was filled with lies, deception, excitement, suspense, drama, upsets and fighting, and throughout there was an underlying feeling of dread at what might happen to the children. Although the story slowed towards the end, I still wanted to know what happened to the cruel Mr Arthur and how the children were affected by their experiences in the troupe. The story most certainly touches on the children's loss of innocence and it feels such a shame and a crime, that the amazing adventure for the children turns so sour.

This captivating historical story will take you back to a different era and completely immerse you in the travels and troubles that happen on tour. Kirsty Murray has done a great job bringing the childrens' tale to life!

Rating: 4*

Templar Publishing are kindly allowing me to give a brand spanking new copy of India Dark away! All you have to do is fill out the very simple form below :)

This giveaway is for UK entrants only.
Winners will be picked using random.org, contacted by email and have 48 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen.
I can't be held responsible for items lost/damaged in the mail.
Giveaway ends 22nd January 2012 (UK time).
One entry per person.
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To enter:
Fill out THE FORM below!

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