I pulled this book from my TBR jar (which just grew by 13 books recently, hehe). I devoured this book. I probably say that often, but I don’t know how else to describe how amazing a book is that I finish it within a matter of days, but also don’t want it to end! Ahhhh!
This book also made me realize how much I love Regency fiction, and the fact that it’s YA makes it all the better!
Title: The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release date: January 26, 2016
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy, paranormal
Length: 482 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads): “London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?”
I regret not picking up this book sooner. It’s true, my word! I am in love. I used to go on genre sprints–where I’d read the same genre of books one after the other. I need to do this with Regency fiction because The Dark Days Club was a gem of a book. Lady Helen is a wonderful female character. Though she’s under the constraints of social hierarchy and propriety (and her misogynist uncle who happens to be her guardian), we see her buck against those. Her internal conflict in this area is absolutely believable, especially after she discovers who she really is.
Please, put Helen and Lord Carlston in a billion more compromising situations! I need them so much. I was more convinced of their feelings for each other (though they never spoke it for themselves) than what goes on between her and the Duke of Selburn. I imagine there’s a lot we don’t know about Selburn. His character and a little bit of his backstory with Carlston is brief. On the outside, their haughty attitude is understandable and very reminiscent of Darcy and Wickham from Pride and Prejudice.
I loved the friendship between Helen and her lady’s maid, Darby. The loyalty Darby has for Helen, I think, pushes the boundary of that between a servant and her mistress. I’m excited to see where these two will go in the next book. Darby is both innocent but determined, and her willingness to follow Helen is admirable. I actually like a lot of the secondary characters in this book. Lady Margaret and her brother, Mr. Hammond, take Helen under their wing easily, and I enjoy how they come at “convenient” times to save Helen the trouble of explaining things to her aunt of fabricating big lies to cover up particular scenarios.
I know the 2nd book is already out (in fact, I have it in my possession already thanks to my local library), I’m intrigued to see if the royal family will play a bigger role in the next book. Helen’s mother, Lady Catherine, obviously has strong ties to the family, and while it’s briefly mentioned, I don’t think even Helen knows what exactly her mother did, especially since Helen’s aunt and uncle are very strict in Helen’s desire not to mention her mother and they look down on her a lot.
This book ended with me on the edge of my seat, but in a perfect note. It’s not necessarily a cliffhanger, but it definitely leaves you wanting more!