Author Alison Goodman has described The Dark Days Club as “Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy in English high society”. I love both of these and this sparked my interest. The Dark Days Club is set in the 1800s and ties in with the When Are You Reading? Challenge I am taking part in.
In London, 1812, Lady Helen Wrexhall prepares for her presentation into high society, the aim of which is marriage. But lately Helen has a restless energy which appears to be getting stronger and a desire to discover the truth surrounding her family history. When she meets the notorious and enigmatic Lord Carlston it seems that he is the one person who has the answers she needs. Carlston shows Helen a hidden world of demonic creatures and advises her that she has a duty to help humanity. Her true calling is to fight these creatures. Is Helen prepared to leave her old life behind and risk everything for the dangerous Dark Days Club instead?
This is a well-researched and historically accurate book. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the dazzling Regency balls and soirées with the shadowy world of the demons. Lady Helen’s eyes are opened when she finds out that her polite Regency society has a disturbing underbelly. Also, I like the fact that real historical figures like Lord Byron are minor characters in this book because it makes the setting more authentic.
Helen is a smart and brave heroine. Living in Regency England, she feels the need to hide her intelligence so that she is not labelled as a bluestocking. That’s a depressing thought! Society expects her to be demure and ladylike without an opinion, but she is brimming with wit, personality and natural curiosity. Likewise, Lord Carlston is a great character. With his commanding presence and elegance, he’s a formidable leading man. He does have his flaws, though, and this adds a certain vulnerability to him. He also admires Helen’s intelligence. Lady Helen and Lord Carlston have a good chemistry between them. I found myself looking forward to their exchanges.
There are some adult themes in this book and although it is aimed at a YA audience, I would recommend it for older teenagers and above.
Whilst reading The Dark Days Club, I was keen to find out what happened next, but at the same time I wanted to savour it! Helen is faced with a difficult decision towards the end of the book. She recalls the wise words: “Sometimes there is no good choice”. I think she makes the right decision. This is an intriguing novel and I’m excited for the next book in the Lady Helen series.
My rating: ★★★★☆
Thank you to Walker Books UK and Goodreads Giveaways for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.