Review: The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman10:00
Series: Lady Helen #1
Author: Alison Goodman
Published January 21st 2016 by Walker Books
London, April 1812. Eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall is on the eve of her debut presentation to the Queen. Her life should be about gowns and dancing, and securing a suitable marriage. Instead, when one of her family's housemaids goes missing, Lady Helen is drawn to the shadows of Regency London.
There, she finds William, the Earl of Carlston. He has noticed the disappearance, too, and is one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of powerful demons that has infiltrated every level of society. But Lady Helen’s curiosity is the last thing Carlston wants—especially when he sees the searching intelligence behind her fluttering fan. Should Helen trust a man whose reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her headstrong sense of justice lead them both into a death trap?
In The Dark Days Club, internationally best-selling author Alison Goodman introduces readers to a heroine who is just as remarkable as Eona—and yet again reinvents an established literary genre, making it her own.
As you've probably seen by now, I adore Regency Era fiction. That has always been a favourite of mine since I read, and watched, Pride and Prejudice, and I try to read as many YA Regency Era books as I can. When I heard about this book, I immediately pre-ordered it, but life and uni got in the way, and I haven't been able to read it until recently. However, I am glad I waited until I could truly appreciate the book, because it was amazing! It was such a accurate representation of the era, that it almost felt like I was living in the time period, albeit with the added paranormal twist.
The Dark Days Club has many of the essential regency elements. The protagonist, Lady Helen Wrexhall, is preparing for her Presentation at Court, and is about to join the London Ton for the Season, with the hopes of securing a husband. As one of the richest heiresses around, her prospects are good, though the fact her late mother is considered a traitor does put a slight taint on her name. At St James' Court, she makes the acquaintance of the mysterious Lord Carlston, who has his own issues to contend with - namely the fact many believe he murdered his missing wife. They become more connected when one of Helen's uncle's housemaids goes missing, and the circumstances of said disappearance are strange to say the least. After more and more weird occurrences, Lord Carlston tells Helen about the Dark Days Club, and organisation with the mission to rid England of the evil that is brewing, and, what's more, Helen possesses the power needed to aid the mission.
Helen was a wonderful MC. She seemed perfect for the era, though she had a bit more get up and go from the norm. Having to live with her overbearing uncle, who wants nothing more than to marry her off, and get rid of her 'taint' once and for all, and well meaning, but critical aunt, she never felt right at home. She misses her parents more than anything, and can't believe the rumours about her mother. When she discovers that her mother wasn't a traitor, and instead was helping save England, she feels vindicated, but, of course, can't tell anyone. Because of the gossip surrounding Lord Carlston, and the general restriction of the time, she and he can't meet up and work whenever they want. The spark between them grows and grows with every meeting, and the romance is so slow building that I wanted to scream at times. However, I can see really good things between them in book 2 ;).
Carlston isn't the only love interest that Helen has. There's also a Duke who's quite keen, though his hatred for Carlston is problematic. There is a bit of a love triangle, but because the romance isn't a big part of the story, it's not annoying, at least not for me. Because of how strict Helen's life is, and how society was at this time, some of the characters, including her own brother, Hayden, come across as stuffy, but there's many, including her maid, who make up for it all.
Now that I've read this, and loved it, I am dying to get my hands on The Dark Days Pact. This book was just setting up for the main action coming, and if this is anything to go by, it will be epic.