The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)
By Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal
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?
The Dark Days Club was an accidental find that landed on my shelves after browsing Book Outlet. The promise of a story involving the paranormal and Regency London begged to be read. And this first book delivered a solid and satisfying introduction to Lady Helen.
Set in 1812 London, we are introduced to 18-year-old Lady Helen on the night before her presentation in court as a young, eligible woman. Feelings are apprehensive as she struggles to deal with the weight of her deceased mother’s questionable past and the pressure to keep appearances. When a housemaid has suddenly vanished without explanation, Lady Helen finds herself thrown into a mystery that will take her deep into the underbelly of London among supernatural creatures and many lurking dangers. But it is quite possible that hidden within, she may uncover the truth to her own elusive past.
Some books are just fun! With an incredible ensemble of characters and its elaborate setting, The Dark Days Club falls effortlessly into this category. Lady Helen is strong-headed and intelligent. She also plays a mean political game as she understands exactly what is expected of her and the consequences of not meeting those expectations. I found her wit and curiosity to be well-balanced with her charm, strengths and occasional weaknesses. She is the sort of individual you find yourself drawn to and wanting to befriend. I simply adored her in terms of female protagonist. Lord Carlston and the many supporting characters supplied a nice air of mystery the accompanied our lead well and brought great depth and variety to the story.
The world building is lavish and inviting. Clever use of details easily paint a clear setting that expands on the story-line and fully immerses the reader into Regency London. I cannot recall reading a Regency setting that felt so picturesque and atmospheric before now. I thoroughly enjoyed every scene and found myself lost within the pages.
Goodman’s writing is clever and well-timed, creating a steady paced read that carries the reader through nearly 500 pages with incredible ease. Character development unfolds at a rewarding pace and allows for future growth. Elements of London and the paranormal come together beautifully, offering a very distinct experience that is not without action. And hidden underneath all of the wonder still lies a story of loyalty, friendship and honor.
I think I am taking the plunge and 5 starring this one on Goodreads. Anyone who enjoys rich historical fiction and the paranormal will find entertainment and value in The Dark Days Club. I will be continuing with this series.
Enjoyed with a cup of vanilla chai, a splash of milk and a dash of cinnamon.