Think Jane Austen Vs Buffy the Vampire Slayer for this regency/fantasy novel. This is currently book one of two under the title of A Lady Helen Novel – I hope this means there will be novels from the perspectives of other characters in this book as I LOVED it. It was also great to meet the author at YALC last week whilst I was reading it.
The story is set around Lady Helen Wrexhall in the year 1812, London, as she prepares to marry into regency society, attending balls and dinners. Both her parents died when she was eight and she is raised by her Aunt and her strict Uncle. Helen ends up meeting Lord Carlston, a Cousin that is not respected in their family and who has just come back from somewhere exotic on the continent. The character of Lord Carlston really grew on me. I loved the mystery and secrecy around his trip abroad and why he had come back to London.
Helen becomes interested in Carlson and is intrigued by his secrecy. She ends up discovering that Lord Carlston is part of The Dark Days Club – a group of only eight people known as Reclaimers who can see and defeat Deceivers – demon like creatures who take on the form of humans, using them as a vessel. Reclaimers use an object made by the power of alchemy, that enables them to see blue swirls around everyone. They spot the Deceivers as they have a darker blue swirl and can develop whips that can attack the Reclaimers. Helen finds out that she too is a Reclaimer and that she is a direct inheritor from her Mother who was also a Reclaimer, which is unheard of. Her Mother leaves Helen a miniature when she died which Helen discovers is the object she can use to see the blue swirls to detect Deceivers.
The pace of the book is quite slow as it goes into a lot of detail about the Deceivers and the Dark Days Club, setting the scene for what is obviously going to be a series. I didn’t mind the slow pace of the book as it was so interesting and meant that you got to know the characters and became aware of the different types of Deceivers and the history around them. The writing style of this book was really enjoyable and it was easy to get submerged into the 1800s. It was also really believable even though there were demons everywhere.
My favourite character was Jen Darby, Helen’s maid. There were some lovely touches of humour added to this character. Darby is a very dedicated maid to Helen and ends up helping her with the events of the Dark Days Club. The character of Darby is extremely warm and comforting, caring a lot for Helen.
I also love Helen, who is a very modern, intelligent 18 year old who could easily fit in to modern day life. During this book, she attracts the attentions of the Earl who wants to marry Helen. I think that there’s something not quite right with the Earl and I’ll be interested to see in the second book whether he is a Deceiver or not!
If you love fantasy and a bit of regency, I thoroughly recommend this book. I’m looking forward to picking up book two – The Dark Days Pact.