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India Dark

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  33 reviews
MADRAS, 1910: two girls are caught up in a scandal that will change their lives forever. Singing and dancing across a hundred stages in a troupe of child performers, they travel by steam train into the heart of India. But as one disaster follows another, money runs short and tempers fray, what must the girls do to protect themselves, and how many lives will be ruined if th ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Bonnier Zaffre (first published August 2010)
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3.63  · 
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 ·  209 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, fiction
'India Dark' is the story of a troupe of Australian juvenile entertainers who go on tour in the Far East back in 1909-1910. Percival’s Liliputian Opera Company – known as the ‘Liliputians – is the creation of Mr Arthur Percival, a man who has recognised that an audience loves cute, charming children, the smaller the better. He has recruited a couple of dozen young performers who can sing, dance, do ventriloquism or magic tricks and his intention is to put on performances all over the Far East. I ...more
Samantha-Ellen Bound
Murray did a great deal of research in writing India Dark, and from what I’ve read, became quite invested in it. This allows me a greater appreciation of the book. I think she has done a fantastic job of taking a small but fascinating part of Australian history and turning it into a novel which is vivid, well-written and complex, plus a rollicking good adventure to boot. I would highly reccommend India Dark for school libraries. It has all the important stuff while remaining a compelling, at tim ...more
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone Who Loves Scandal, Romance, Acting, History and True-to-Life Fiction
4 Out of 5
Poesy Swift and Tilly Sweetrick are Lilliputians – child performers who tour the world, singing and dancing, having the times of their lives before becoming ladies, gentlemen and ‘real’ actors. To begin with, it is just like that for Poesy: she’s escaped the shattered remains of her family, is with her old friend and doing what she loves best. But soon the money starts running out. Illness strikes. Under the pressure, the manager Mr Arthur soon shows his true colours. And before they
Isabella Holmes
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this book, I was not expecting it to be as dark as it was. India Dark tells the story of a troop of Australian child performers, The Lilliputians, as they perform across India. This story has some unexpected and slightly disturbing topics mixed in. These include girls persuading other girls to do things they don't want to do, and the adult in charge Mr Arthur is in a close relationship with one of the older members of the troop. As a book I thought this was an intere ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There are many lives I might have lived and things that might have been.”

A wonderfully vivid evocation of time, place and character that explores a virtually unknown event in Australian/ Indian history.
Amy (Turn the Page)
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Is anyone else drooling over this cover? Because it is gorgeous. Even though I have an ARC, kindly provided by Templar, I’m very tempted to buy the published book simply so I can have that cover on my book shelf!

If anyone’s looking for something a bit different in historical YA, or simply YA in general, I would urge you to pick up India Dark. I’m a big fan of historical fiction and even more so when it’s inspired or based on real characters or a real event, and particularly if it’s one based on
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ughhhh why did it have to end?? It defiantly didn't go the way I wanted it to but I think that was the best part. It was such an amazing book and it was so heartwarming. Both of the covers for this book are absolutely beautiful! My favourite character was defiantly Charlie.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only is this a good tale but it is an interesting piece of Australian history.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
This review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies

I don't know what it is, but something about India really intrigues me. Which is partially why I was excited to read India Dark by Kirsty Murray, despite it being an historical novel. But of course, the other part of it (pretty cover aside!) is the fascinating premise of it.

Based on a true story, India Dark tells a fictionalised story of a children's travelling theatre group in 1910, which went on strike while touring India and refuse
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked this up because of the gorgeous cover! I loved the colours and the way it felt, and also because on the back it looks like a theatre poster or a newspaper article. And I liked that there was a cast list on the first page, and named chapters, and a map and a glossary and everything. It just felt like MORE than a book, especially when I read the blurb and realised it was based on a true story. And to begin with it was original and interesting! It's about a group of Edwardian child actress ...more
Alex West
Beautifully written, well-researched, character driven novel that starts starts a bit slow but becomes a page-turner by the third to halfway mark.

Despite the premise, this is quite a subtle novel, which focuses on small things happening to ordinary people. The meatier events happen to peripheral characters, or are taking place in the background. The main characters are drawn in a very realistic way, and Murray does a particularly good job of making this group of teens really think and behave the
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I usually don't settle for historical fiction - yeah, I like history, but sometimes certain parts bore me. But not this book! It is set in 1910 in India. A theatre company travels the world which leads to adventures, secrets and lies, and disasters that lead trouble for Posey and Tilly...

First of all, I must comment on the writing. It is exquisite. I loved the metaphors and descriptive language used, it is one of the reasons why I didn't want to put the book down. For example; the first line is
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up at a library after seeing a 'Read Me' sign stuck in it. It came with a review from TheBookAddictedGirl and I couldn't resist. It sounded terribly interesting (and it turns out that it was!)

From my own research, Murray appeared to do a decent job of telling the story of a true event. It turned out to be a lot more brutal than I expected. For some, the topics may be triggering; child abuse, rape, violence. It focuses mainly on our two heroines, Tilly and Poesy, telling the st
Anthony Eaton
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirsty Murray writes (among other things) historical fiction - it's one of her real passions. I've heard her talk about it on a couple of occasions (actually, I've got vague recollections of the two of us doing a panel on the subject at some-writer's-festival-or-other, but I can't recall any specifics, so it's quite possible that my brain is just making it up.)

In any case, the point is that not only does she write historical fiction, but she writes it beautifully. Reading her books is reading th
India dark is a nice little novel set in a historical setting which was an engaging read and would be perfect to give youngsters a real feel for the British Empire around the turn of the century.

The story follows Poesy and Tilly two girls who are part of a travelling act who are enroute to America performing along the way to any audience that will have them.

The thing I really enjoyed about this book the most was that you got a real sense of period from it and a real feeling of life in the far re
I've written a review for the Centre for Youth Literature so will post it here once it's published.

Loved this book!

UPDATE: My review is now online on CYL's Read Alert blog. I've copy/pasted it below:

Based on a true story, Kirsty Murray’s latest novel chronicles the misadventures of a troupe of performing children from Melbourne as they tour across Asia and India. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of two young girls; one new to stage life, the other experienced in the ways of th
Based on the amazing Lilliputian opera company of the late 1800's and early 1900's, whcih toured a group of children who performed reviews for the public. In 1909, the company toured to Asia and India, in what was to be its last ever tour. This fictional version tells the story of Poesy and Tilly, who write alternate chapters. Both girls view events from quite different perspectives, Poesy as quite timid, but sly, and Tilly as quite forthright. I found the characterisation of Poesy to be stilted ...more
Ankur Rastogi
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
India Dark is a fictional account of a true story of a company called Pollard’s Liliputian Opera Company in Australia. This company did some great tours of the world. The novel is based on its last fateful tour when everything fell apart. What makes the novel interesting is that it has been written from the perspective of two little girls Poesy and Matilda of how they see the events unfold in front of their eyes and what role they play in the eventual closure of the company. The author admits in ...more
May 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Very nearly four stars, this ran out of steam a bit at the end - the beginning set up a real anticipation for the climactic court scene, but it fizzled a little bit. Otherwise this was great fun, with two splendidly unreliable narrators recounting a nightmarish theatrical tour of the East in 1909. The cover art is glorious too.
Rania T
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirsty Murray's forte is historical fiction that touches on Australia's everyday forgotten past. This novel has been meticulously researched, and its atmospheric tone underpins a narrative of strained relationships, rumours and cultural conditioning told from the point of view of two girls exploited by child labour, Tilly and Poesy.
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, historical
An interesting read! A troupe of interesting characters and wonderful settings. The only read problem with this book for me was the conclusion - I personally feel the "what happened afterwards" chapter was disappointing, but interesting at the same time. Overall, great and would recommend this!
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-fiction
Australian author, story (based on real events and characters) begins in Australia in the early 1900s. Rather bleak story, told in alternating fashion by two young girls, about life in a travelling troupe and their lack of rights.
Rebecca McNutt
Maeve's story is both unfortunate and hopeful at the same time, and one that no reader could forget. Imagine being moved from a whole other continent and culture, away from everything you know, with only your dreams to have? India Dark was a well-written and gripping, an amazing story.
Anne Williams:)
Set in the 1880s about a troop of children and teenagers who travel the world entertaining people with song and dance shows. Disasters and secrets are part of this story which is an insight into a world that did exist at that time.
Ellie Dowling
this book takes me on a eventful journey across India. so many different things happen across this book all the time. the only things that i regret about this book is that in the end she does not end up with the magician but some other which is a shame
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story based on true events.
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the best book ever totally amazing
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story, which is what made it interesting to me. The book itself was ok, but got a little tedious.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't care for it. I thought a little more highly of it after I found out that it was based on a true story...
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Kirsty Murray is a multi-award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults. Her works include eleven novels as well as non-fiction, junior fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction and picture books. She loves books, libraries, bookshops, readers, writers, puddles, puppies, and stories – especially stories about for and about kids and teenagers. Her 2019 releases incl ...more
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