My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I went into reading this book expecting not to enjoy it too much. Historical books generally don’t do it for me, and the Regency period in particular made me wary. I think I must have read too much Georgette Heyer as an early teen! Thankfully I was completely wrong. This book is fantastic.
Goodman really paints a vibrant and pulsating picture of Regency life and society. Lady Helen feels authentic, as do all the supporting characters. All the restrictions of that society are apparent (for both men and women), but Alison Goodman manages to subvert them nonetheless with the genteel, gutsy and gorgeous Lady Helen Wrexhall. Her foil, Lord Carlston, is dark, dangerous and mysterious. Just the way I like my male protagonists. He is also courageous and chivalrous too. His guiding of Lady Helen through the labyrinth of her emerging supernatural powers is self-serving, but also compassionate.
Lady Helen herself is a wonderfully complex woman, and a heroine of classic proportions. her lady’s maid, Darby, was also a favourite of mine – full of spunk and unwavering support for her mistress in the face of terrifying circumstances. As sinister forces gather to try to kill Lady Helen, because she is just too powerful, the novel really takes off. I can’t say much more because there will be spoilers, but if you enjoy historical fiction with a healthy dose of horror, you are in for a treat.
For ages 14 and up.