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(Mad Passions #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

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.

★✩★✩★✩★


**4.5 ENGROSSING STARS**

I do admire authors who are willing to go beyond the established boundaries of historical romance and Maire Claremont has done just that in her dark, intense, debut novel, THE DARK LADY.

MY THOUGHTS

Ms Claremont’s writing is both evocative…the chilling reality of conditions in the madhouse was so vivid that I felt that I was right there with Ian, experiencing everything he did as he entered that hellish place:

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. And as his eyes adjusted, the scent assailed him. Lord, the smell of lye was far preferable to the wretched stench of unwashed human and raw fear permeating the stagnant indoor air.

and emotive…I found myself sharing all the doubts and fears that Eva felt…

“I don’t know myself anymore.” Her slender fingers curled as she lingered, looking out to the street below.
“How do I find myself again?”

I loved the complexity of Eva’s character as she struggles to overcome her laudanum addiction and her overwhelming feelings of grief and guilt, believing her irresponsible actions caused the death of her son, Adam. Her journey isn’t easy but she is stronger than she thinks. Ian is haunted by feelings of guilt over his friend’s death and harbors a terrible secret that makes him believe himself unworthy of Eva’s love. Not only do they have to face their own personal demons but also the malignant forces that are determined to destroy them.  I loved how Ian did everything to protect Eva and prove that she was sane.  These two truly deserved to find happiness.

There are memorable secondary characters:

Eva’s friend, Mary – who selflessly aids Eva to escape…I can’t wait to read her story in Lady in Red.

Ian’s Aunt Elizabeth – kind, perceptive and pragmatic

Ian’s friend, the Earl of Wyndham – a former spy who aides them and provides some much needed humour

Mrs Palmer who runs the madhouse -she repulsed me but, at the same time, intrigued me

Thomas , Eva’s brother-in-law – a creepy loner

The plot has plenty of heart-stopping action, as Ian and Eva keep one step ahead of the villains. The ending is both surprising and heart-warming…a truly hard-won Happy Ever After.

 If you are in the mood for something dark and intense with an original plotline, fascinating characters, suspense, romance and a heart-warming ending, I can definitely recommend this book.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Mad Passions series to date (click on cover or link for more details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone – 4 Feb 2014 The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3) – 4 March 2014

Read November 2013

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