The Dark Days Club

Preparing for one's society debut is stressful for any young Englishwoman of the Regency era, but 18-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall is more nervous than most. Her late mother, Lady Catherine, was a notorious traitor to King George III; her dreadful, misogynistic uncle is eager to marry off his tainted niece quickly; and her body has been flooded by an "unseemly vigor" and other disturbingly unnatural powers that make it even harder than usual to concentrate on the work of finding a husband.

It is the Earl of Carlston, her disgraced distant cousin, a "handsome but repellent" man with "dark shark eyes," who tells her the truth about who and what she is. She is a Reclaimer, just as her mother was, one of eight in England who has the talents to identify and destroy Deceivers, the thousands of supernatural, tentacled creatures who disguise themselves, colonize human bodies "at all levels of society" and harvest the life-force of humans to survive. This revelation is terrifying for Helen, but soon enough, she is pulled into the work of the Dark Days Club (a shadow group to the city detectives called the Bow Street Runners) that fights Deceivers.

With The Dark Days Club, Australian author Alison Goodman (Eon; Eona) brings her usual meticulous world-building craft to her exploration of the historical and the supernatural. Her vivid descriptions of the clothing, society and conversation of 1812 London would perfectly recall Georgette Heyer, if Heyer had written dark fantasy, and the romance, though tamer than Sarah MacLean's books, absolutely smolders. Fortunately, Lady Helen's adventure has just begun--it's the first of a trilogy. --Stephanie Anderson, assistant director for public services, Darien Library (Conn.)

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