Genres: Paranormal, Historical Fiction
Format Read: Paperback
Published by Harper Collins on December 14th 2015
London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her debut at the court of Queen Charlotte and officially step into polite Regency society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know that step will take her from the opulent drawing rooms of Mayfair and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of missing housemaids and demonic conspiracies.
Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of ruined reputation and brusque manners. He believes Helen has a destiny beyond the ballroom; a sacred and secret duty. Helen is not so sure, especially when she discovers that nothing around her is quite as it seems, including the enigmatic Lord Carlston.
Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St James's Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self-discovery and dark choices that must be made ... whatever the consequences.
Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Lady Helen) did not disappoint — in fact, having read a few mixed reviews for it, I found I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.
Lady Helen Wrexhall is preparing for her first season in 1812. With an infamous dead mother who is rumoured to have performed treason against England, Lady Helen (and everyone around her), tries to force down her inner spirit and be the woman society expects from her.
Little does she know, Helen’s spiritedness is not from a need to rebel, but rather from a destiny that she was born into. A Reclaimer who’s tasked to save the world from the evil of the Deceivers, creatures that seek out the life force of humanity and sucks it from everyone. And as the only direct inheritor, it’s been predicted that her birth will bring about the Grand Deceiver, a creature that could possibly wipe out all the Reclaimers there are left (which is not many considering there are only around eight in England).
This book was interesting from beginning to end. I never really enjoyed regency books before, but in the last few years, I’ve developed a love for them after devouring A Breath of Frost and Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey.
Alison Goodman’s 1812 London is detailed, which I understand can be a little dull for some readers. I on the other hand loved it. I’m a huge history nut, so getting a glimpse into this time period was so fun! Having interviewed Alison recently, I know how much time and effort she has spent researching the period to ensure that the book and its events align as closely with real life as possible. This added a touch of something special to the story, and made it all the more enjoyable.
Lady Helen was also a character that I admired. She was strong, but not in the way that many YA heroines are these days. Living in regency England means she’s limited by a lot of things that women today take for granted — for example, not having the freedom to go wherever you want for fear of being seen as improper…or even the freedom to power walk, let alone run! These societal standards doesn’t help when you’re meant to be saving humanity from demons! Women in this era are not given many choices, but what’s interesting in this book is that Helen does get a choice. And it’s interesting to see the way she makes that decision…there was not one second where I thought her choices were unrealistic or out of character.
What’s also great about this book is that while there’s a touch of romance, it’s quite subtle, making it all the more enjoyable. Let’s be honest, most of us are sick of being whacked across the face by a ‘love story’ that plays out over a week. I’m actually quite torn about whether I like Lord Carlston or not to be honest. I think I’ll hold out judgement until the next book.
One of the only issues I had with the book was the Deceivers. While I understand what they are, and their history, I just find them a little out of place. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very unique (and definitely creeptastic), but I found the whole tentacle thing a little out of left field. And I can understand why these creatures don’t sit well with some readers.
Overall, Alison Goodman has crafted a very interesting world that I’m looking forward to diving back into soon. This book is not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of paranormal and historical fiction, then you should give Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club a try!
Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.