Review: The Dark Lady by Maire Clairmont

Posted February 19, 2013 by Ang in 4 stars, Historical Romance, Rating A Tags: , , ,

The Dark Lady
Author: Maire Clairmont 
Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Mad Passions #1
ISBN: #978-0451417992
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.
Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.
What Ang is talking about:
Historical Romance novels on the whole tend to be a bit predictable, such is not the case with the Dark Lady. Ms. Clairmont dives into deep and dark places of the Victorian Era by tackling depression, drug withdrawal, murder, honor, duty, love and demons of the past, in addition to tackling the power of the Ton and the abuse of that power that in all likelihood probably took place far too often. Opening in a mad house where the inmates are kept under control via laudanum, the plot is highly emotional and keeps you turning page after page.
The writing is well done–visually allowing the reader to picture every scene as it flashes between the present and the moments of the past through beautifully written flashbacks. The hero is strong with his own vulnerabilities, which was a nice change to many other novels that fail to explore the struggle of the hero. The heroine was was sympathetic, sassy and strong despite or maybe because of the wounds of her past. Together they fight intensely evil and greedy villains in a variety of places, including drawing rooms, carriages and madhouses, all of which are vividly depicted.
I did have a few minor complaints with the novel. First, the villains: I felt like they were so well written that at times the main characters took a backseat to their evil pursuits. My second complaint was that I felt like the laudanum addiction was never truly explored. Eva seems to breeze through it, and I think it could have been explored a bit more, allowing for a little more dimension to be added to the story-line. My final complaint was that there were several loose ends that were wrapped up; however, since reading The Dark Lady, I have learned that it is part of a series, and I figure those ends will be dealt with in future works. 
Overall I found the novel to be a complete delight with well-written twist and turns. If you are looking for something a bit different from the typical historical romance filled with ballrooms and well dressed, oppressed women anxiously awaiting their knight, then The Dark Lady will be a refreshing change for you. 
Angs Rating:
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)

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