I have been anxiously awaiting Máire Claremont's debut from the moment I first spied the cover. The lush art work led me to believe that the contents inside would certainly be even better. The Dark lady had me from page one and kept me entranced right through the final pages. The writing is solid. The Dark Lady’s hero and heroine are equally matched in strengths and tragedies. The story weaves its way through the dark side of Victorian England, a side which is often forgotten. Claremont draws readers into the dark recesses of an often cruel era where those who have power often abused such power. From a country side madhouse to the beautiful ballrooms of London this book takes readers on ride that so few historical romances do.
They had been friends since early childhood but destiny and duty fell in their paths. Lady Eva Carin has not only lost her husband but soon after suffers a much greater loss than that, the loss of her infant son in an accident of her own making. Her brother-in-law Thomas, the new Lord Carin sees fit to commit Eva to an asylum of which she has endured many cruelties including a regular dosing of laudanum and many pain filled beatings. Lord Ian Blake has returned from India haunted by the events that led to the former Lord’s death and dreads coming face to face with Eva, but he knows he owes her the truth about what really happened to her husband. Ian is stunned to learn that she’s been committed, but upon entering the halls of the asylum that she has been placed in, he becomes livid and enraged. The only thing that stops him from committing murder is the thought of never being able to see Eva again. This sets off a chain of events that puts them both in danger as they each try to overcome the torments that life has thrown at them.
I was drawn into the story from beginning and my heart went out to Eva and Ian. The story telling is lush and simply draws you into the period. There are many strong secondary characters that will make you want to come back for a second helping. Beautifully crafted, and has been written in a fashion that believable for its time period. For a novel that has an overall darkness to it, the light soon begins to filter in.
Easily a Five Star