Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

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Lady Helen bk. 1. Angus & Robertson, 2015. ISBN 9780732296094
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Regency period. Paranormal. Lady Helen Wrexhall is a young woman, about to be presented to Queen Charlotte and ready to be launched in Regency society and into the marriage mart. She is haunted by the memory of her mother who was tainted by the reputation of being a traitor, and when she meets the dark and dangerous Lord Carlston, she finds it very difficult to believe that she has another destiny that of a member of the Dark Days Club, fighting demons and rescuing people.
Goodman's research into the Regency period provides a fascinating background to the story of Lady Helen, just making her debut, and seeking a suitable man to marry. Marriage was the only way that a woman could secure her future and the lack of independence and economic power that were the lot of women was graphically described. Lady Helen, although very intelligent, remains a Regency lady, shopping, riding in the Park and looking over prospective suitors. The customs, the shops, the clothes, and many real characters like Beau Brummell, Lord Byron and the Regent himself too, are all vividly described and make compelling reading for anyone who is interested in this period of history. An especially interesting aspect was the relationship between Lady Helen and the many servants in the house, including Darby her ladies' maid and young Berta who goes missing.
I loved the combination of Regency setting and paranormal excitement. As more of the demonic world is revealed and Lady Helen's acquaintance with the dark Lord Carlston grows, she is plunged into great danger and sees first-hand what the demons in her world get up to. She has inherited powers and a secret duty and has to decide whether she will become part of the Dark Days Club and ostracised by the ton, or marry a Duke and become a matron leading high society.
It was a great read, one that lovers of the Regency period, and authors like Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen and Mary Robinette Kowal are sure to enjoy. I am eagerly looking forward to the next in the series.
Pat Pledger