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Deeper than Indigo: Tracing Thomas Machell, forgotten explorer

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The author’s quest begins when the word ‘indigo’ draws her to the illus­trated journals, now in the British Library, of Victorian explorer Thomas Machell. She finds her life to have striking echoes of his, not least travels to and within India, a career in indigo, and a passion for journal writing. She is also intrigued by his aspi­ra­tion to write ‘a novel in the form of ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Medina Publishing Ltd
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Tim Chamberlain
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, history, travel
I’d wager that most historians are hooked on history primarily for the thrill of research, leafing through archives, puzzling over old photographs, wandering down side-streets in obscure places in search of long forgotten buildings where the events or people we are researching once happened or inhabited. Publication in the form of articles or books, and presentations in the form of talks or conference papers can be rewarding, but, for me at any rate, they don’t come anywhere close to the feeling ...more
Piers
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Author Jenny Balfour Paul stumbled across the journals of Thomas Machell while following her life-long interest in indigo. Thomas was born in Yorkshire in 1824; he died in India in 1862. By the 1970s when Jenny herself set out for India overland, he had been almost completely forgotten. Later, when already well known for her academic work on the history of indigo, she started reading the journals, which Thomas himself describes as letters to his father. In them he spells out his hopes and fears; ...more
Sarah Anderson
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A really fascinating and compelling book
Louise
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a page turner with such surprises a trail that you can hardly believe is available to Jenny treasures unfold that you can hardly believe can be found I loved this book and found the characters and discoveries truly mesmerising Brilliant
Sangita
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book.
Thelastwordreview
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deeper than Indigo by Jenny Balfour Paul, is an incredible account of the life of the forgotten explorer Thomas Machell. What we have here is a unique memoir, travelogue and in no great part an amazing detective story trying to discover the missing years of the explorer.
Thomas Machell was born in 1824 to a large family and it was clear from as early as 12 he had that ‘explorer’ in him as he tried to set off on an adventure after climbing out of his bedroom window with his younger brother. They
...more
John Fish
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deeper than Indigo by Jenny Balfour Paul, is an incredible account of the life of the forgotten explorer Thomas Machell. What we have here is a unique memoir, travelogue and in no great part an amazing detective story trying to discover the missing years of the explorer.
Thomas Machell was born in 1824 to a large family and it was clear from as early as 12 he had that ‘explorer’ in him as he tried to set off on an adventure after climbing out of his bedroom window with his younger brother. They
...more
Sylvie
Aug 18, 2015 added it
Recommended to Sylvie by: my daughter, who heard the author talk about her book.
This is the type of book I love - combining memoir, history, travel and much more. It's also a quest which is always appealing. An original quest, inspired by the author's love and knowledge of indigo, it encompasses many places and lives. what magic lies in that word Indigo, in the colour itself, and the places from where it originates.

The author's enthusiasm is palpable. She gradually finds out more about that singular figure, the Victorian explorer Thomas Machell, discovers his diaries, follo
...more
Julian Walker
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A chance encounter with an obscure, handwritten annotation to a watercolour drawing sets the author on a bizarre quest – to trace the history and life of an obscure Victorian adventurer, traveller and indigo & coffee planter.

Aided by the fact that he wrote detailed journals, she follows his trail around the world and uncovers some startling connections with her quarry across the generations.

This book beautifully develops into a blend of historical novel, travelogue, detective story and mystery
...more
Fibrelady
A very different tale but one that draws you in.
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