Journey into Darkness
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (7/19)
“Journey into Darkness” by Dell Brand is a historical fiction novel that spans from 1855 – 1865, from Melbourne, Australia to England, through the Crimean War, onto America and the Civil War, and back to Australia. It’s a whirlwind of a story as readers follow Kit Markham, a fascinating, though not stereotypical young woman of the mid-19th Century.
Kit Markham was just fourteen when her whole world was turned upside down because of Jack. Kit and Jack were inseparable as kids and they always imagined they would get married and spend the rest of their lives together. When their families share that the two are actually half-brother and half-sister, it is almost too much to bear. At age 16, Kit knows she must get away from Jack and try to forget him. Hence begins Kit’s journey into darkness as fate steers her in a direction she never could have imagined.
The story is presented in four parts and takes readers through a historical field trip of a tumultuous period in history. It is apparent the author engaged in an intense research process as the novel is rich and descriptive with vivid details sprinkled throughout the entire story. There is a lot of history passed along and readers run the risk of information overload at times, however, much of this material is presented though correspondence between the main characters and, in my opinion, this is the best way to unpack a lot of historical facts into a fiction piece.
Kit is an interesting protagonist – a flawed character that will either endear readers or drive them crazy. I wanted to like her more than I did – and I don’t say that as a bad thing. Rather, I realized that it was perhaps because of this mild animosity toward her that I was driven to learn more about her and grow into her character as I watched her mature and go from being a somewhat entitled child, to a woman with a high work ethic. Her struggles of being a woman in the mid-19th Century will no doubt be a relatable factor for many female readers as some of the issues and challenges she faces are still very relevant in the world today.
Overall, I found “Journey into Darkness” by DE Brand to be an enlightening and entertaining piece of historical fiction. I must give this Australian based author due credit for providing such a thorough, educated accounting of the American Civil War. Fans of historical fiction in this era will appreciate the time and effort put into the creation of such a genuine interpretation.