There are a lot of adjectives that I could attach to Marie Claremont’s Lady in Red, but I will stick to just riveting. This dark and intoxicating book gets into the nitty gritty side of Regency England’s elite. This is the second book in Claremont’s Mad Passion series and it far surpasses the emotion she brought with her first book The Dark Lady. Although Lady in Red stands alone and readers can easily grasp the back story, it is strongly advised to read the Mad Passions books in order.
As the daughter of a Duke, Mary Darrel should be the talk of the town dancing away her nights in the glittering ballrooms of London, but instead the world believes that she is dead. The Duke of Duncliffe is violent sort and when his wife mysteriously tumbles to her death from a staircase he has his daughter committed to madhouse claiming she was as mad as her mother. When Lady Mary narrowly escapes the brutal madhouse, the first place she heads to a brothel and into the arms of a woman who had been friends with her mother prior to her mother’s marriage to Duncliffe.
Edward Barrons, Duke of Farleigh is fighting his own demons, including a family scandal that resulted in the death of a young girl. Edward will do anything to escape his demons including taking in the shell of a girl he meets at the brothel. Edward sees those same dark demons in Mary that he is fighting in his own right. In Mary he spies his own redemption. He has no idea who Mary truly is, only that the town’s most famous madam has asked him for his help.
As Mary recovers not only in body, she’s awakening in spirit to a man whose own soul has been as tormented as her own. The flicker of revenge towards her father begins to burn and with Edwards help Mary seeks to grow strong enough to enact that revenge. With bittersweet passion and tenderness, Mary and Edward come together as they seek to rebuild her into what she should have been all along. Their quest for revenge leads them to an even bigger test of the bonds of true love.
Beautifully written, The Lady in Red is very haunting and will easily leave readers in awe of the strength that these characters have within them. Its prose will emit every possible emotion a reader has and in some cases bring readers to tears of both happiness and sorrow. Once more Claremont has penned a stunner of a historical romance.