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The Dark Lady

(Mad Passions #1)

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  109 reviews
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 h
Mass Market Paperback, 313 pages
Published January 16th 2013 by Signet Eclipse (first published 2013)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

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💙 I read this for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2018 Reading Challenge, for the category of: Victorian Romance. For more info on this challenge, click here. 💙

A couple years ago, I won a giveaway of the second book in this series, LADY IN RED, but I never read it because I am a trash person. It's not even that I lost the book: I can literally see it sitting right on my bookshelf across the room at this very moment. You see,
Sarah Mac
Gothic melodrama is a style that many writers can't handle, particularly in latter-day genre historicals. Current standards tend to gloss over anything that might cause the audience a glimmer of discomfort...but gothic melodrama needs that darker thread of plot. Without a looming darkness to propel the story along -- whether physical threats, abstract ghostly menace, or psychological baggage -- you're left with a bland genre romance. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a HEA in neo-gothic roms, bu ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended by Cherie

3.4 stars

The first 5 chapters of this was dark, gothic, and vastly intriguing but as the story went on, it lost me. Ian and Eva spend most the time running and though they internally think about their connection, until the last 20% or so when they start the touching/coming together, I didn't feel their passion for one another. The middle was greatly stretched out and the ending rushed as Eva's addiction wasn't dealt with and the asylum storyline left hanging for future books
Rachel (BAVR)
I've been waiting so long for an HR that opens in an asylum (because I'm creepy), and The Dark Lady sort of / kind of attempts to make my dreams come true. It doesn't fail outright, but it does lose most of its balls in the middle.

 photo sad-dawson_069qx4_zpsc8c0ca02.jpg
He's sad because he lost his balls, too.

My obsession with somehow fitting an asylum-bound woman into a romance novel started in college when I was really high on my kick as a newly energized feminist. I was all, "OMG, they locked women in asylums just for being as
The Dark Lady by Máire Claremont is an angsty Gothic romance that has the guts to try something really unique...but doesn’t have the guts to actually follow through with its premise.

Women in insane asylums. A horrifying reality for many women in the 19th century, especially those who didn’t toe the Party Line. This is where The Dark Lady opens, as Eva cowers in her cell, high on the laudanum her jailors force-feed her, waiting for those same jailors to come and rape her in the night like they al
Kerry Allen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have been eagerly anticipating Máire Claremont's debut as it sounded lush and unique and I am pleased to say she delivered! This haunting tale of love lost and then slowly found again was a pleasure to get lost in. Lady Eva Carin suffered the greatest loss a mother can bear and while she was in the depths of her despair, her brother-in-law deems her insane and locks her in an asylum where her soul is drowned in laudanum and everything is dark, depressing and horrifying. Lord Ian Blake knows it ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
HR rating disclaimer: You'll find most HR books for me are rated 4 stars. I can't be objective with them unless they are truly horrendous or one of my favorite authors has really let me down.

Review to come.
Morgan Gene
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
The heroine annoyed me. Not enough substance, I ended up skimming most of it.
Lynn Spencer
May 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I gave this a C- at All About Romance, so 2.5 stars.
The Dark Lady is one of those books that intrigued me from the moment I saw the synopsis - drug-addicted heroine, dark and gothic-sounding plot - I really looked forward to this debut. And then I read it. It caught my attention at first, but ultimately ended up a major disappointment.

As the book opens, Lord Ian Blake has returned from India, obviously in pain and deeply burdened. The opening of the book has an almost gothic tinge to it as Ian
Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth
This book had great potential. I did not hate it...but I didn't love it either. There were parts with excellent writing but things the hero and heroine did were so stupid at times.

Everyone knows that you cannot leave an addict alone. You cannot leave him on his own. And I doubt it was any different in those times. Especially since Ian had experienced addiction during the war. Yet, he is off in a huff when he fights with Eva. What does Eva do? Exactly the thing every addict would to fin
Pamela / SpazP
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed several components of this book, particularly the dark Victorian setting and the creepy asylum the heroine is imprisoned at. There is a scene in the beginning of the book that had me holding my breathe, it was so intense. I love the trope of friends to lovers, and in this case the hero and heroine have loved each other since they could remember, but they were separated by duty. I love that shit. :P However, the story for me fell apart somewhere around the middle of the book. The romanc ...more
I received a copy of this from Goodreads First Reads for review. I read about a third of it and then skimmed the rest. It was just boring and lacking in the romance department (and hello-it's a romance novel!). Claremont writes with flowery, melodramatic writing, and it's just over the top. For example, she uses the word "thus" too much and her writing style is of the dark and stormy night variety. I wasn't invested in the hero and heroine (boring and not too much chemistry). So I made this one ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance
All the trigger warnings for this one, seriously. Eva and Ian grew up together as wards of the same mercurial man. They always had a thing for each other but couldn’t act on it because of an unspoken understanding that Eva would marry Hamilton, the son of their benefactor. Flash forward a few years—Eva and Hamilton get married, Hamilton and Ian ship off to India to serve in the military, and while they’re gone bad things happen, both for them and for Eva. Now Hamilton is dead, Eva has been commi ...more
Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*

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.

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 adjust
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first word that came out of my mouth as I’ve finished reading this story was WOW… and then I exhaled.

‘The Dark Lady’ by Máire Claremont is her début, and what a début it is!

If you’re like me, one of those bookworms that have a need for the book to grab them from the first page, then you’re in luck if you decide to read this book. You’ll be on pins and needles ‘till the end.

For a change this story develops in 1865, Victorian era and what a contrast to Regency era it is. For some reason it loo
Jovon Tucker
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First off, let me begin by saying that while I do enjoy a good romance novel every now and then, they are not my favorite genre. However, the Dark Lady by Máire Claremont, coming out February 5th 2013, is just that. A GREAT romance novel!

The reason I'm not too fussed on romances is because to me, they seem to focus mostly on the sexual escapades of the characters rather than the rest of the storyline. In my opinion, they usually are bordering on erotica more than romance. I can usually guess wh
MC is a NTM and her new series is intriguing and dark. I enjoyed the book overall, just wish more attention had been paid to Eva's laudanum addiction recovery. It was so commented on, that I expected more on that aspect. I was happy at the ending and hoping that was they way it would end. I am expecting great thins from MC and have ordered the 2nd one in the series. Mary's story is going to be a must read for me for sure. ...more
Octobur Frost
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not one for adult romance, but I'm a sucker for books set in Victorian age, and also asylums and mad women. ...more
Ingrid Hahn
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Flawless writing. Romance at it's absolute best. Interesting story, strong and engaging characters, perfectly paced. Loved. Loved. Loved. ...more
Jen Davis
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Maire Claremont is embracing the dark side of Victorian London with this first installment of her Mad Passions series. Our heroine, Eva, isn't mad, but after what she has endured, no one hesitates to believe her late husband's brother when he claims otherwise. Not only did her husband Hamilton die, but she lost their young son shortly afterwards. Evil brother-in-law had her committed to a madhouse, where she has been locked away for the past two years.

The conditions Eva is forced to live with ar
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a lot. Claremont nails the dark, gothic atmosphere. Her writing is very vivid. Eva and Ian were compelling characters and together they were a couple that I really rooted for. The narrative alternates between the present and the past where we get flashbacks fleshing out the relationship between Ian, Eva and Hamilton. In the present Ian, returned from battle in India, is nursing his guilt over the death of Eva's husband and their mutual friend Hamilton and Eva has been institutiona ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written story that is set in the Victorian era, is focused on the hurts and damage that comes when a society continues to view women as expendable unless they behave as gentled lap dogs, who conform to the social norms of beauty without brains, and who sometimes stand in the way of one man's greed and avarice and insatiable hunger for power. Then the hidden horror of "asylum," especially private institutions who destroy women who must be silenced, who are simply impairments ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Lord Ian Blake has returned from India with troubling demons and many regrets, feeling that he’s responsible for his best friend’s death. Now that’s he’s back in England, he needs to make sure his friend Hamilton’s wife, Lady Eva Carin is safe and cared for. When he discovers that she has been locked in an asylum after an accident that resulted in the death of her young son, he embarks on a mission to save her. This story is aptly named, for it is a dark and twisted tale of the nastier side of V ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
I don't usually read "dark" romance. I read for entertainment and like to learn something at the same time. Therefore, since I never considered stopping reading this book I guess it's not as dark as others I've started and stopped reading.

Someone else referred to this as a debut and if so it is very, very good for a debut. There was a tightness in my chest several times when Eva was in danger and Ian's devotion to Eva was palpable. I will read Mary's story when it comes out because she was an un
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lord Ian Blake had gone to India to save his best friend, Hamilton, from himself. With Hamilton finally killed because of his cruelty, Ian returns home 2 years later to face his widow, Lady Eva Carin. He is shocked to learn of her infant son Adam's death and her subsequent commitment to an asylum by Hamilton's older brother, Thomas. Having loved Eva from afar for as long as he can remember, he determines to at least see her, and what he finds upon his arrival at the facility shocks him to the co ...more
Wendy LaCapra
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dark Lady grabbed me on page one and kept me riveted through the end. The writing is gorgeous, the heroine strong and very sympathetic, and the hero honorable and sigh-worthy through the darkest moments. The story is swims through the hidden side Victorian splendor, where laws could be twisted to satisify the ends of the powerful. As the hero and heroine clash against the forces bent on their destruction (and sometimes against each other), their strength and honor build and the very deep wounds ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 I'm not sure exactly what to say about this book. I've wanted to read it for a long time and now that I have I'm not sure what to think. It was very well written. I loved the story. But I had a hard time with the hero and heroine, although I did feel the strong connection they had for each other. Ian was such a martyr throughout the whole book. Even the things that I liked about him were just overshadowed by his constant pity party. Yes he had his reasons, but after a while it become enough. ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
DNF-- I stopped somewhere in Ch. 7. My own fault, really, because I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting into, but the language was just too melodramatically gothic for my taste (YMMV). I liked the idea of the plot, and the descriptions are first-rate, but the language just made me roll my eyes.

Also, a seemingly minor quibble-- unless by some miracle both the Carin and Blake families have family names that match their titles, the author completely ignores proper form of address from the ge
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 02, 2015 10:10AM  

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Other books in the series

Mad Passions (3 books)
  • Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2)
  • The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3)

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