Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Lady Helen #1

The Dark Days Club

Rate this book
London, April 1812.

On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

485 pages, Hardcover

First published December 14, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Alison Goodman

11 books3,688 followers
Alison is the author of seven novels so far including the award winning Dark Days Club trilogy (aka as the Lady Helen trilogy) and EON and EONA, a New York Times Bestselling fantasy duology. Her upcoming novel --The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies-- is book 1 in a new series, and will be published in the USA, UK and Australia at the end of May 2023.

Alison lives in Australia and has recently completed her PhD, so can now call herself Dr Al.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,795 (25%)
4 stars
7,659 (40%)
3 stars
4,339 (23%)
2 stars
1,321 (7%)
1 star
620 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,863 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 26, 2016
In 1812, Prinny had been regent for one year. Britain was on the brink of war with America, and in its tenth year of almost continuous war with France and its emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. None of these countries, however, knew there was another, even older war being waged.

Alison Goodman did not disappoint.

In some ways, this book reminds me of Donnelly's These Shallow Graves - the setting, the mystery that emerges, and the heroine who is strong-willed but feels true to the time - though I think Goodman's work is even better written and more layered. And there is a paranormal twist.

What I like most about Goodman is that her ideas truly feel fresh. Her fantasy duology - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona: The Last Dragoneye - does not follow the same formula as all other YA fantasies. Her sci-fi novel - Singing the Dogstar Blues - is also very different. Rather than running with the ideas of others, I always feel like she brings something new to the genres she writes in.

The Dark Days Club is no different. Goodman once again introduces her own unique mythology, blended into the shadows of 19th century London.

In this world, Lady Helen Wrexhall must come to terms with the fact that she may be destined for more than high society parties and marrying a Duke. She may have to face the reality that there is more to the world than she had first thought. But how can she do what she's supposed to while her Aunt insists on dragging her to balls and her Uncle's wrath follows her every action?

And one of my favourite things about this book is a small detail, but an unusual one. When supernatural destinies/abilities are revealed to YA heroines, they do not usually have a choice, or at least not a realistic one. But that is an important part of this book. In a world where women do not have many choices, Lady Helen must choose the life she wishes to lead.

Add in a good dose of female friendship, a simmering almost-but-not-quite romance, and a vivid portrait of such a weird and exciting time in British history, and this book was always going to steal my heart.

My only criticism is that at almost five hundred pages, the book could have been shortened slightly. I don't have a problem with long books usually, but there is a slow patch around the middle. Don't worry, though, it soon picks up again. I can't wait for the next one.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest
January 29, 2016
London, late April 1812: a month that had seen violent civil unrest, savage battles on the Continent, and the rumblings of aggression from the new American nation. It was also the month in which Queen Charlotte—after a two-year hiatus—returned to the practice of holding drawing rooms for the presentation of young ladies into high society. A battleground of a different kind.
My goodness, this book was delightful!

It's got everything I like! Historical romance? Check! Magic? Check! Murder?! Check!!!!!! That's not to say that something with all of these elements is bound to be good, because clearly other books with fantastic elements have gone awfully, terribly wrong, but this book did it just right. And boy was it fun to read.

Young Lady Helen is about to make her debut in society - presented to the Queen, no less, when people start disappearing. As a young noblewoman, people expect her to say "Ain't nobody got time for that!" Helen, being the intelligent girl that she is, decides to not leave it be and actually figure out wtf is going on. Otherwise we wouldn't have a book, now, would we?!

Interspersed between the normal Regency stuff like balls (Almack's!) and manners and possibilities of ruining one's prospects is the mystery of Helen's parents, and the strange things that are happening to her. Helen is a great character. She behaves as befitting a young lady of her era, and despite the book's blurb of will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap, I did not find her TSTL in the least.

The problem I have with most Regency novels is that the main female character often mistakes bitchiness for independence. No such problems with this book. Helen knows when to keep her head down, to keep quiet when necessary, but she is most definitely not without a sense of humor.
“But look, at least twenty-five frogs on the bodice alone. Is it too much to ask for a dress that won’t scare the horse?”

Aunt Leonore gave her loud cackle—the one that had earned her the title Lady Laugh amongst her friends and Lady Hee-Haw amongst her enemies. “Not this Season, my dear. It is all military flimflam.”

“Bonaparte has a lot to answer for,” Helen said. “First Europe, and now our fashion.” She flipped the magazine closed and rested it on her lap.

“You really do have your mother’s grim sense of humor.”
There is a wonderful friendship between Helen and her maid. The actions between Helen's secret investigation and her normal life as Lady Helen felt natural, as are her natural doubts and fears between choosing between the life she was born to, and the life she could choose. And again, contrary to what the book blurb says, the romance is barely there.

I have read Alyson Goodman's excellent Eon series before, and I'm so happy to say that she's done it again with this one.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
February 6, 2017
Pride and Prejudice meets the Infernal Devices.

Alright, it's not exactly like Pride and Prejudice. There is no Mr. Darcy, only an infuriating earl that may of may not have killed his wife. And there is no Elizabeth, only a girl whose curiosity leads her to an underground demon-hunting cult, but is too reluctant to follow her call. The resemblances lie in the vivid and detailed depiction of the English society, with its etiquette, its balls and fancy gowns and dreams of marriage, all of them wrapped up in a ribbon of propriery, that demands from women obedience and good manners, with as little brain and spirit as possible.
“No, you are not an angel, Lady Helen. You are a Reclaimer.”

As you may have realized, the story follows Lady Helen, a young woman who must try her best to secure a wealthy husband who will overlook the scandals and secrets that surround her dead mother. And her debut would be truly successful, if only she could quell her restlessness, her inability to sit idly and obey orders, when her soul longs for something else, something she can not comprehend. Until she meets the mysterious and infamous Lord Carlston, a man dangerous yet alluring, who will be her guide to a hidden world, full of foul creatures that threaten mankind. Helen doesn't know whether she should trust the Dark Days Club. Her rational part keeps repeating that she is a lady, and has no business with secret clubs, that her Reclaimer powers are a burden and not a call that must be answered. Terrified and torn, she must decide who she is, who she can be and who she must be, when the stakes get even higher and prophecies, demons and rogue hunters threaten her life and her reputation, when Lord Carlston invades her senses and gets under her skin. When she faces the danger of losing herself.
“Sometimes there is no good choice.”

There is something familiar yet oddly mystifying about The Dark Days Club. Alison Goodman's attention to every detail and the thorough investigation she has conducted are truly astonishing, she has left nothing in chance. Every gesture she describes, every piece of clothing and dialogue and dance, they transfuse an authenticity to her narration. While I must admit that I found the first part rather slow-paced, and at times wished she wouldn't elaborare this much in things that didn't seem important nor interesting, I admired her dedication.

Her underground London, with the Deceivers and the Reclaimers was also resourceful, she didn't follow the demons-hunt-humans trope to the letter, she marked her own path, with a dash of paranormal, a plethora of social events and a pinch of slow-burning romance. Lady Helen is not your typical heroine. Even though she felt a rash of excitement when she discovered her true nature, she wasn't sure that she wanted this life, a life of danger and responsibility. I was not particularly fond of her decision towards the end, mostly because she resolved so for the wrong reasons. But in general, she was a fresh and witty character, with a spark of mischief and a brave heart.
“You have far more courage than you think you do.”

Lord Carlston is an enigma. The truth about him is a riddle to be solved, his motives hidden, but I strongly believe in him, that he is a genuinely good person, albeit somehow tainted by the darkness he keeps facing. He is irresistible. The romantic aspect of his relationship with Lady Helen started forming towards the end, and the tension between them was utterly delicious. Bound by the rules of propriety, and his lordship's rotten reputation, Lady Helen tried to fight her attraction. To deny her growing feelings. But if there is a word to describe them, that word is burning.

I'm really looking forward to The Dark Days Pact! Here is Nastassja's marvelous review that brought this book to my attention!
Profile Image for Sabaa Tahir.
Author 22 books32.2k followers
February 21, 2016
Holy moly, this book was so great. Amazing research, really fun characters and such an original idea. I read it because I am going on tour with Alison Goodman and now I'm just going to meet her and fangirl and she's going to be like "who are you, please go away."

Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,636 reviews34k followers
January 5, 2016
It's no surprise that this book is terrific--every Allison Goodman story includes a world that comes alive in a way few books do. Paranormal Regency London shimmers with whirling silk skirts and is bound by careful decorum, yet our heroine finds herself defying everything she's been taught when she experiences powerful magic for the first time and is drawn into a web of intrigue and danger.

I'm surprised to find that I do have a couple of reservations about the book, so I need some time to sort out my feelings. But all in all, this is engrossing and perfectly paced, with wonderful period details and convincing characterization. As always.

Review to come. Ugh, the thought of waiting another year for book two after this one was delayed for so long just kills me.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,254 followers
January 27, 2016
My favorite thing about The Dark Days Club is the historical accuracy. It is very clear from the first page that there was a great deal of research that went into this book. There were moments, places, and people in history I recognized. The setting feels so real with the incredible amount of detail included. It felt like I had traveled back to London 1812. I even found myself learning things. This is exactly what I want from a historical fiction book and Alison Goodman brought it.

The introduction provides some historical background to our story helping to show where we are at in the time period. It also presents the story well in terms of what is going on in society. The rest of the book follows Lady Helen. She lives with her aunt and uncle because her parents died ten years prior. Lady Helen is preparing to be presented to the queen, something her uncle hopes to go well so she secures a husband this season. Her mother is a rumored traitor to England, which could only taint the family name. The things expected from a woman in the 1800s are so restricting! I found myself getting so angry for Lady Helen, even though I get that this is just the way society was. When her uncle said something about the basis of femininity being obedience..no words. I am just so glad to have the freedoms we do today.

Even with the amount of detail, each chapter had something that really kept me reading. Lady Helen has so much going on preparing for her presentation when one of the house maids goes missing. Lord Carlston, a distant relative of her uncle’s, appears back in town and seems to know things about Helen she can’t quite understand. Dark rumors follow Lord Carlston making him a bit of an interesting character. There are many other aspects to the story, but basically there is a HUGE paranormal twist to the story. It is revealed in the synopsis if you’d like to find out or you can go into it a bit more on the blind side.

There is a romance that’s slow burning, but doesn’t quite get there yet. I felt like the tension was building and would expect something to develop later in the series. We shall see. The romance didn’t take over the plot at all, so that’s a bonus. The book is a bit on the long side and for the most part keeps it’s pace. There are a few slower parts though. There is an author’s note provided at the end explaining the research that went into The Dark Days Club. She goes into the accuracy of the facts and explains small details in history she changed for the sake of the plot. I’m planning to look at her pinterest and website because it really was so interesting.

If you enjoy historical fiction with paranormal elements, then I 100% recommend you read this asap.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
October 26, 2016
Maybe it's because I just wasn't in the mood for it, but I found this to be so so slow. It had a great atmosphere, great characters, great historical aspects, but I just felt like I was being dragged along for an unnecessary amount of time.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
April 29, 2022
2.5 stars

Rounded up for old times' sake, because I was mostly bored by the novel.

This story is simultaneously well written and yet so incredibly slow. Frankly, throughout the book I kept wishing for it to be a fun, smutty Regency romp instead of a dour historical paranormal fantasy. Goodman is just so good at writing historical details and manners, and her characters are all over the age of 18, there is some fornicating and pornographic cards included in the story. But I just couldn't care less about the paranormal aspect. I would have liked the novel with more smut, humor and romance and some mystery instead of the whole boring paranormal deal.

Not interested in revisiting or reading a sequel.

P.S. I hope to not hear/read a word "miniature" for a long time. It was used a billion times in the text.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
January 20, 2016
Heeeeyyy, look, a GIVEAWAY! Go forth and win! Ends 02/18.

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Book One of The Dark Days Club series
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

What I Liked:

Whew! What a read! This book is a doozy - very long, but worth every page. I tucked in for a good read, and I got what I was looking for. I've been waiting for this book for nearly three years (according to Goodreads, anyway). I read Eon and Eona as a young teen (probably around fourteen, fifteen?), so reading The Dark Days Club was really exciting for me (I'm twenty now, random tidbit). Waiting for a new book by Alison Goodman has not been easy!

Lady Helen Wrexhall is about to make her debut at the royal court of George III, in front of the queen. Her aunt and uncle want her to secure a good future, and being presented and recognized by the queen will aid the process - and hopefully ward off the taint of Helen's mother's actions from the past. Lady Catherine was wild and unrestrained, and Helen's uncle is happy that Lady Catherine and her husband died years ago. But Helen is finding that she might be more like her mother than she thought. Her instincts have been getting sharper, and she's has been noticing odd things. It seems that the dangerous and mysterious Lord Carlston is the one who has answers, who knows what she is and what she is seeing. When worlds collide - the glittering world of Regency London, and the shadowy world of demons - Helen's life will never be the same.

You all know how much I love adult historical romance novels. Yup, you know the type - the ones with the shirtless males and ball-gown-clad females on the cover. This book is set during the same time as many of those historical romance novels - Regency London, the 1800s. I LOVE historical romance novels, a lot of which is due to the time period. Historical fiction in general (not just romance) set in the 1800s has always fascinated me. I love that Goodman set this series during the 1800s, and had so much fun doing the research for it! She did a stunning job with the setting, and world-building.

The 1800s can be so restricting, especially in a YA novel with a female as the protagonist. Goodman really set up the world in an authentic manner; Helen's life must revolve around attending social events, balls, gowns, and securing a future match. Helen's uncle controls every aspect of her life, including her inheritance, until she either marries, or turns twenty-five. Scary thought, right? I didn't like Helen's uncle at all, and I thought her aunt was ridiculous (but she had good intentions). Helen's brother is SUCH a young lord in the 1800s (carefree, privileged, has no idea how lucky he is to have his freedom - freedom a young woman does not have in this time period). Same with his nice friend Selburn - he's nice, but I don't trust me. I did like Helen's friend Millicent, and Helen's maid Darby. Go Darby!

I really liked Helen - she's a different sort of character in YA. She's intelligent and curious and witty, which is not typical of a girl in the 1800s (they're not supposed to be smart - rather, they should be pretty, well-mannered dolls, ready for marriage and children). She IS well-mannered, and I'm sure she's pretty (Goodman never made physical appearance a big deal, which I thought was refreshing!). I like that Helen takes steps to protect herself, and her maid Darby, when she finds out what she is and what she can do. She doesn't immediately jump into the cause, which you see so many girls in YA lit do, when they find out that they're different.

So what IS Lady Helen? It turns out that her mother, Lady Catherine, was a demon hunter, with enhanced senses, instincts, reflexes, and the ability to see demons (with some aids). Helen is born with those abilities, and her powers are slowly awakening. Lord Carlston, an Earl, has recently come back to London - as it would turn out, to hunt demons, but also to seek out Helen.

Lord Carlston is known for supposedly killing his wife. No body was found, so this wasn't proven, but all of London is quite sure that he killed her. The young Earl is cold and seems savage, but it isn't until he shows Helen what SHE is that she understands why he is so. He's a Reclaimer as well, and he wants Helen to join him in taking demons' power to destroy them.

I like Lord Carlston. He's generally very misunderstood (poor guy) and seems like a good man. We don't get to know all of his secrets in this book, but we do get to see a lot of his personality. He protects Lady Helen at every turn, no matter her thoughts on The Dark Days Club (those who hunt the demons). Lady Helen is reluctant to join (which is so reasonable), and it's respectable that Lord Carlston does not push her.

I've seen some people asking if this book is similar to Susan Dennard's debut trilogy, but I personally don't think so. There are no zombies in this book, and I feel like Lady Helen's life is MUCH more rigid and restricted than Eleanor's. Lady Helen is a very high-ranking lady in society, with a hefty inheritance. Her brother is Lord Hayden, another noble, and he is good friends with a Duke, Selburn. Even Lord Carlston is an Earl. I don't really think that this book (and series) is similar to the Something Strange and Deadly series, especially given Lady Helen's reluctance to join the group.

There is a hint of romance, the smallest, barest hint. You can probably guess who the leading pair are. In 1800s London, unmarried eligible girls are often pushed towards the first interested nobleman, in order to secure a good match. Keep that in mind as you read this book. THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE. I adored the beginnings of a romance in this book, and the ending is very favorable. I foresee no love triangle in the future, and I DO foresee the romance that I'm hoping will develop, developing. *swoons*

Spending of the ending... as soon as there is some grand ball or event or dance announced in YA lit, you KNOW something bad is going to happen. In contemporary YA, if there is a homecoming dance, or prom, something bad will go down. I knew the showdown was coming, but I didn't expect it to end as it did. I cannot wait to see what happens in book two! You just KNOW that Selburn is hiding something. And we've barely scratched the surface, in terms of Lord Carlston! I must know more!

Amazing world-building, excellent character arcs and development, unique story, budding romance - I'm hooked! This book doesn't end in a cliffhanger, but suffice it to say, I need the next book!

What I Did Not Like:

This isn't so much a complaint as a warning - this book is LONG. And it reads long. I usually don't mind lengthy books. Give yourself enough time to read it in one sitting (trust me, you'll want to read it in one sitting). It wasn't boring at all, but you really FEEL the 500 pages while you're reading (it didn't read quickly).

Would I Recommend It:

I absolutely loved this book - no surprise there, as I really love adult historical romance novels set in Regency London, and I adored Eon and Eona at a younger age. I had confidence in Goodman and she did not let me done! This is book one of a trilogy, so it isn't the worst idea to wait for all three books to publish. But I knew I would want a new Goodman book in my hands as soon as possible! If you're not much of a historical fiction reader, go slow! I was exposed to all of the customs and rules of Regency London because of all the adult historical romance novels I read.


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars (I bet if there were kissing in this book, it would have gotten 5 stars. LOL.). This book was very close to 5 stars, believe me. I am quite sure that the next book will not come soon enough!

Woooooooow, I liked this book a lot. No surprise there - I'm a huge fan of adult historical romance novels, AND I loved Eon and Eona! :D
Profile Image for Sharon.
506 reviews273 followers
April 2, 2017
I'm already 16 books behind, and this is the 9th book I'm putting on my current-read.

I gotta get it together. LOL.

Please let this be awesome. I don't remember why I added it, but let's go~~



I have never quite read a YA like this. I love the historical aspect (which the author has clearly done a good amount of research on), the romance (I ship it), the engaging plot (it’s creative and kinda creepy), the mystery (did not see any of that coming), the paranormal aspect (some seriously weird shit), and the characters (Helen, while not perfect, was pretty badass – especially for a woman in the 1800s).

It starts out rather slow, but by a quarter in, it gets way better. By the end of the book, I was quite literally at the edge of my seat. I didn’t know what to expect to happen. This only makes me curious on how the later books will be like because I seriously have no clue what is going to happen. I have not read many YA historical fiction, but if I do read a historical fiction, it tends to be focused on the romance. This book has romance, but it definitely is more plot-driven than anything else. Helen makes many discoveries throughout the book, while initially trying to find her missing housemaid. Thus, it can get slow at times, but there is certainly a unique, intriguing plot.

– Helen: I like her. She is a proper, rational young girl. However, it is clearly shown that being a girl of a free spirit and curious mind, she struggles to fit in and be confined to society’s (specifically her guardians’) expectations of her. She gets restricted, verbally abused, manhandled, and pressured by her uncle (which sadly makes sense because it’s the 1800s), but I love that Helen breaks the rules, anyways. She does what she thinks is right, or if not right, what she thinks is best. It’s lovely to see that she gets more of a fighting spirit as the book progresses.

In addition, she cares about her servants, particularly Darby. I’m not foolish enough to think that she treats a servant as an equal. She doesn’t. She’s not capable of seeing how a servant’s life is like and seeing that person as a total equal – because how could she? She has been living in riches since her birth and I can’t begrudge her for it. However, considering the historical setting, I appreciate that she seems to genuinely respect and care about her servants. It’s easy to like her because of that.

– Darby: She is Helen’s servant, and honestly, like her sidekick. She’s honestly MVP. I love her loyalty and her genuine, pure personality. She is there for Helen every step of the way in this book.

– Lord Carlston: …Are we all going to compare him to Darcy? – Because he’s dark, broody, and cranky in society’s eyes, but is possibly-maybe a guy with a heart of gold? And rich – can’t forget rich. And handsome. And he has that love-hate thing mixed in with misunderstandings going on with the heroine? …OK I can kinda see it, too, but only in like a very vague sense. Lord Carlston is darker, more confusing, has a fishy past, and can kinda kick ass? Hhm… Anyway, I like him. He’s confusing AF, but I love his interactions with Helen.

Final Thoughts
4 stars because I honestly have not read a book like this. It is a wonderfully weird and engaging. I like the characters, too, and this book literally makes me question what the author’s end-goal is. I have no clue what will happen next, and I like the anticipation of it. *excited for the next book*

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level?
Favorite scene?
What age level would be appropriate?
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,329 reviews2,146 followers
September 1, 2017
Historical fiction/ fantasy, Australian author whose previous books I love, beautiful tempting cover - what more is there to ask for?
I enjoyed this one very much. Someone described it as Regency romance meets Buffy and that is not far off the truth. Alison Goodman is a big Regency fan and it shows. She writes excellent descriptions of life at that time from the rich to the poor. And then she throws in some supernatural beings and the drama begins. Great fun!
Lady Helen is a really good main character. The author manages to make her modest and unassuming as a good girl from that period would be, but underneath she is much, much more. The romance between her and Lord Carlston was lightly done with the promise of more to come. I am looking forward to the next in the trilogy.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes some fantasy and mystery in their historical romance.
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews1,014 followers
February 1, 2016

Actual rating: 3.5

Look at the picture below


It is Alison Goodman at the Jane Austen Festival. She is a great fan of Regency era and while writing her book she did not only researched the era but had an experience living in the Regency era. Quote:"I checked the historical weather reports, read military and crime accounts in The Times, made notes on the phases of the moon, perused the fashion plates in La Belle Assemblée, studied numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century museum exhibits, consulted Regency experts, walked along Rotten Row and the streets of Mayfair, watched countless documentaries and Jane Austen–inspired films and miniseries, collected and wore a wardrobe of Regency gowns and stays, learned how to dance in the Regency style, tried Regency recipes for food and drink, and read, read, read everything I could get my hands on about the era. I am now, officially, a Regency bore." So you see how much effort was put into writing this book. The real question is: Did all the work paid off?

The Dark Days Club is a story of an eighteen-year old Lady Helen. She lives an ordinary life of an ordinary 19th century girl: her days are full of Court presentations, dress fittings, guest lists drafting for the next ball, meetings with famous people as Lord Byron (yes, that Lord Byron) and the most important of all them is finding a proper husband. As you can see, no place for extracurricular time. But, of course, faith has other plans in store for our young heroine, and she'll soon find herself in the center of an ancient war between our world and a demon world.

The plot and settings for this book are unique. I don't think I've ever read a book with such historical accuracy mixed with paranormal aspect. It makes the story fascinating in many ways. To imagine a girl of Regency era fighting demons is not an easy task, especially if you are well aware of the position young ladies were in at the time. If you are not a connoisseur of 19th century English history, don't worry, the author will help you to adjust with her vivid descriptions of that historical period. First half of the book is mostly an introduction to the world of aristocracy and its customs, and I not once caught myself wandering how could the demon part fit into all this? But it did and rather brilliantly has settled between balls and pursuits for a husband.

Lady Helen is an intelligent - too intelligent - girl who does not believe in superstitions and prefers to rely on facts and science. Of course, it is not welcomed in society where the essential three for the success of a lady are beauty, high connections and fortune:

Promise me you will have some proper conversation ready for your dance partners. And make your little quips less political. It does not do for a girl your age to be so aware.”

But Helen wasn't whining or complaining about her fortune like some of the YA heroines do. No, she was ready to accept what is in store for her, but a little bit of independence wouldn't be unwanted. In heart, of course, Lady Helen dreams of independence that is given to men not women. Again, we have an excellent example of lack of freedom and possibilities for a woman of genteel upbringing. Though, Helen will have a choice in the other matter: whether to accept her unique powers for fighting demons or to reject them. Helen was a very likable character, and I easily sympathize with her and was ready to accept whatever she'd choose for herself in the end. The darker side of the world, filled with strange demonic creatures and unknown devices, frightens Helen, and I liked that she did not rush to accept something beyond her comprehension because she was told to. I respected her doubts and her fears - it made her more real and human to me:
“I am no warrior, sir, nor do I aspire to be. I have been taught to sew and sing and dance, and my duty is to marry, not fight demons. Look at me: I am an Earl’s daughter, not a man versed in swords and fisticuffs.”

The supernatural aspect presented to us brilliantly: no abrupt plunging into it, but step by step the mystery unravels, and it was a unique presentation of a well known demon mythology. I'd say that it was a fresh view on a well known mythology and at times a rather terrifying one, giving the story a more believable angle.

Of course, what historical book goes without romance. We have a slow-burning romance, not much of it, but the pieces that present are very reassuring and promise us much more in the next book. *says in a cryptic voice* I am sure there's no girl who will be able to resist Lord Carlston and his... um, charms. And that scene in the end *swoons* I may say that this book was worth reading if only for that moment.

The only problem I had with this book is pacing: it was so slow I sometimes wanted to finish off the book in the most brutal way possible. I am quite a patient person and can endure slow tempo when it's appropriate, but this book, sometimes, was bordering on boring and I was waiting for something to happen for so long, it seemed like the real action will never come. I hope I'll not have such problems with the next book.

To read or not to read? My advice to read. Especially if you are a lover of a historical fiction or even a historical romance genre. Also, if you read and liked another wonderful book from the recent releases - These Shallow Graves, The Dark Days Club has all chances to be your thing, because it has some similarity with the aforementioned book. Only I must warn you that don't expect a lot of similarities between books - they are mostly different but share an amazing atmosphere of the eras they take place in. As for me, I am ready for the next amazing historical fiction book to come and knock me off my feet.

Profile Image for Jessica.
265 reviews3,537 followers
April 6, 2016
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

4.5 stars
I really enjoyed reading this book!
It was so well-researched and bursting with historical details! I could tell right away that Alison Goodman really spent a lot of time learning about life in 1812, London! I've since been to her website and Pinterest board and I think it's amazing how she included important figures of the era, artists, fashions, buildings, etc! She even researched the moon and weather patterns so it would be accurate as well!

Another aspect I really liked was the pacing. After reading what this book was about I thought for sure it was going to have fight scenes in every chapter and demons galore. Instead, our main character, Helen, was slowly submerged into this world over the span of the entire book. It was such a relief to not have so much knowledge dumped in our faces 2 chapters in. I loved the main character Helen and how curious and witty she was. Helen (unlike some heroines) wasn't just "okay" with everything two pages later, and really tried to make educated decisions throughout. She has a lot expected of her from her family and society in general.
I'm really looking forward to reading the next book!

Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,249 reviews642 followers
October 16, 2019
A Regency London infiltrated by demons in human guise with only a small band of dedicated warriors able to detect and fight them! This is the world Lady Helen Wrexhall finds herself in, when at 18 she should be looking forward to her the dances and parties of her first season and her presentation to Queen Charlotte. Instead, she finds out dark secrets about her dead mother and herself and meets the dark and charismatic Earl of Carlston, believed to have murdered his wife. Lady Helen soon finds herself torn between two worlds, one where she can be a devoted wife and society lady or a darker more dangerous one where she must learn to be brave and strong.

I loved this fun read, with the urban fantasy element mingling very well with Regency London. Lady Helen is a complex character who has always had to hide her intelligence and quick wit in society and it will be interesting to watch her develop during the series (and to see if she succumbs to the Earl's charms!).
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,713 reviews25k followers
March 31, 2016
This is a fantastic historical fantasy which I thoroughly enjoyed. There is a great heroine, Lady Helen, whose housemaid goes missing. Instead of wallowing in a world of society parties and marrying a suitable Duke, Helen opts to find out what has happened to her. Especially as she and the housemaid had a good relationship and are close. She gets involved with Lord Carlston with a view to asking for his help and embarks on a thrill ride that includes magic and demons. However, there are also murders and other dangers lurking. Additionally, what are the secrets in Helen's family? A great read that is well plotted and full of intrigue. Thanks to Walker Books for an ARC.
Profile Image for Chiara.
876 reviews219 followers
March 21, 2016
A copy of this novel was provided by Harper Collins Australia for review.

I’d heard a lot of good things about this author’s other books, so I jumped at the chance to read and review Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club. Except that I knew by the end of the first chapter that we were not meant to be.

Because I like lists, and there are a few things about this book that were off for me, here are some weird/unlikeable things about Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club:

1) The writing style. Now, I am not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but I’ve never been so bored by writing before. There was no urgency in high intensity situations, there were no feelings in supposed romantic situations. There was just nothing in terms of emotion.

2) The pacing. Of which there was little to none. Every single event in this book occurred at a snail’s pace. It was enough to put me to sleep (literally, I started falling asleep when I was reading this book). I really did not care about all the shit that went down at the meet the Queen event, and how girls were sweating and how it was so hot and how Helen was worried about wobbling and just no. ENOUGH.

3) Helen. Besides the fact that I couldn’t engage with her character at all, I didn’t particularly want to, either. She had no mind of her own (she just went along with what everyone wanted from her), she was rude and bitchy (oh yeah, I absolutely loved the fat shaming – easily my favourite part of the novel), self centred, and generally unlikeable. I seriously cannot thing of one redeeming feature of her character.

4) The sexual parts. There were weird porn cards, and Helen imagining having sex with some old dude with gravy breath, and – here is the standout – a demon that kills people when they orgasm by shoving a tentacle in their chest. Like … a fucking tentacle, guys. A TENTACLE. I don’t understand this. I mean, okay sex demons sure whatever, but a tentacle sucking life force? And Helen thought about it all the time and referenced it as a “pulsing tentacle” and I’m just like … dear god. I kind of feel like it was supposed to be some kind of siphoning penis, and I really think that maybe the sex demon could have just kissed their victim to suck their life force but okay.

5) The shipping, or lack thereof. I didn’t ship anything in this book. Which is a pretty big feat because I ship things all the time. I can find ships in the most unromantic of things. An art, one may say. So the fact that I did not ship anyone in this book was weird. I mean, Helen was so bland, so when she had two beaus after her I found it a little unbelievable because I didn’t understand what it was about her that they liked. And Carlston was no Mr. Darcy. He was as flat as a pancake, and there was no tension between them, nor any romance. The whole thing was a bust.

6) I am almost tempted to go through this book and highlight the number of times the word ‘propriety’ was used because I cannot even fathom how many times it was used. Helen was constantly talking about impropriety and propriety and I’m just like: girl, FFS, just do what you want. Propriety is just a bullshit norm enforced by petty minds. But oh wait, you are one of those petty minds so never mind.

7) The blatant sexism. Mostly reserved for Helen's uncle, and almost all other characters at one time or another. I understand that history didn't treat women so well, but I don't really like to read about a character who so detests women, and a protagonist who just sits there and takes it.


I cannot really say any more, because overall this book was really disappointing, and to be entirely honest I struggled to read the entire thing. I wanted to DNF after the first chapter, but I was willing to give it a go because it has been received pretty well by almost everyone who has read it. Turns out I should trust my instincts because Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club was definitely not worth my time.

© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity . All rights reserved.

warning: murder, fat shaming, sexism, and death by drowning in this novel
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,666 reviews1,231 followers
June 28, 2018
An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

Did you enjoy  Buffy the Vampire Slayer ? Do you like Regency era fiction? Then hold on to your bonnets because you are going to loooove this book! It really is an incredible cross between the two, with Lady Helen battling demons in her petticoats, while also trying to maintain her reputation as a well-bred lady.

There's also a Chosen One vibe coming from Lady Helen, but this is only the first book, so we shall see. :) Also like Buffy, Helen is steadfast and fiercely loyal, two qualities that make her a very good person to have on your side. But she's also clever and sneaky and stronger than she appears, so you don't want to cross her if you can help it.

I rather enjoyed reading as Helen attempted to preserve a certain sense of propriety, even in her dealings with The Dark Days Clubs and the demons they fought. She has only just begun her Season in London and it would ruin all of her aunt's plans if Helen's reputation were besmirched before she'd even had an offer of marriage. And yet Helen cannot resist the pull to do something about the demons that plague her world.

There's also the magnetic pull of the enigmatic ne'er-do-well who brings her into the folds of The Dark Days Club. This slow-burn romance -- the best kind, if you ask me -- was just lovely. The antagonism, the dark looks, the half smiles. It's amazing -- and a demonstration of the writer's abilities -- how sensual those encounters could be without the characters ever touching. Lord Carlston might not be the villain everyone claims he is, after all. Yet for every answer he provides, a million more questions present themselves to Lady Helen. Of course, her very life is in danger just by being associated with The Dark Days Club, and if she were smart, she'd simply walk away from that world.

I knew before I even started reading The Dark Days Club that I was going to love it because it's from the mind of the incomparable Alison Goodman, but I didn't realize just how much I was going to enjoy this story. It's made me want to re-read Eon/Eona to revisit another world that she makes truly breathtaking.

This book was plain fabulous! So well-researched and just perfect...everything I'd hoped it would be and then some. I have theories about the direct inheritor and the Grand Deceiver, and I can't wait to see how things play out in the next installment. It will be well worth the wait.

GIF it to me straight:
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
513 reviews306 followers
February 13, 2016
Review posted on Fafa's Book Corner !

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by my GR friend Alyssa ! I had heard about this author years ago along with her infamous series Eon. Back in November the publishing company released a sample for all the upcoming books. This book was amongst them. At the time I had been hearing so much about this book that I decided to read the sample. It was slow but I fell in love with the setting and Lady Helen. Alyssa's review convinced me even more so I bought it. I am very happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

The book begins with Lady Helen practicing her curtsy for her presentation to the queen. Readers find out that this is a very important presentation especially to Helen. When Helen was 8 years old her mother and her father tried to flee London. They drowned when the ship sunk. After this it was announced that her parents committed treason against the crown.

The consequences were taken out on Helen and her brother. Helen is often compared to her mother and people fear that she is just like her mother. Helen has to act perfect so that people will see that she is nothing like her mother. Helen and her brother live with their Aunt and Uncle. And Helen's Aunt tries to help her maintain perfection.

Her Aunt arrives with terrible news. One of Helen's friends Delia, has now been shamed. Delia ran away with a man not intending to marry him. They reached a hotel and the man committed suicide in front of Delia. A witness also claims that before he heard gunfire he saw the start to glow. Helen feels horrible that she did not ask why Delia had been so upset. She partly blames herself for what happens.

That night Helen finds out from her handmaiden Darby that one of the other maids has gone missing. She was running and errand and never returned. But she couldn't have run away because she belongings are still with them and she has mentioned sending money to her mother. Helen then promises Darby that she will try and look into Berta's (the maid) disappearance.

Helen asks her older brother Andrew about it and mentions the area where Berta was last seen. He freezes and mentions Lord Carlston. When Helen asks for an explanation Andrew explains that 3 years ago Lord Carlston murdered his wife. There's no proof but everyone knows he did it. Lord Carlston has returned and Andrew assumes that he must have been the one to kidnap Berta. He warns Helen to stay away from Lord Carlston.

The day of her presentation with the Queen Helen decides to take her mothers miniature with her. She has Darby tie it to her fan. She knows that she shouldn't do it but she feels that her mother should be there with her. In some way.

Helen and her Aunt run into Lord Carlston. He's pretty cold but he doesn't seem the type to kidnap Berta. Lord Carlston takes an odd interest in her fan. After he repeatedly asks her to show it to him she gives in and does so. He returns it back without her mothers miniature. Helen is furious and invites him to her house in hopes of getting the miniature back from him. He agrees.

I honestly did not except this book to be that good! I was so surprised that I enjoyed it that much. I loved the writing style (third person)! It worked really well with the story. There was so much research that went into this that it was completely mind blowing! It was really cool to read about how formal everyone was. Unless they knew each other on a personal level they couldn't say their first name. Hence why Lord Carlston is constantly referred to as Lord Carlston. I loved how rather than chapter numbers this book had the month, date, and year. Very cool! And it helps if you want to keep track if how long the book takes place.

Unto the characters! I loved Helen! She's a very unique character. I felt for her whenever she had the battle with herself over what's right and wrong. Should she trust Carlston when her reputation was already in ruin? I loved her friendship with Darby! It was sweet how loyal they were to each other.

I loved Helen's Aunt! She was really fussy but thought of Helen's best interest and has saved her multiple times from her Uncle's wraith. Her Uncle views women as incompetent creatures that need to be controlled. He repeatedly tries to force his opinions done Helen's throat. He also constantly reminds Helen about her mother. I honestly have no idea how Helen's Aunt has managed with her husband for all these years. Helen and Andrew care for each other but are not close. Most of the time Andrew is out and the two don't interact a lot.

When I first read about Carlston I felt for him. It must suck to come back home to hostility. What's odd is that they have no proof that he murdered his wife but everyone believes it. After his first interaction with Helen I did not like him at all. I spent a good while disliking him. Until you find out that he's not a wholly horrible person.

The world was unique! I haven't read anything like it. You only touch upon the surface of it with some information here and there. But you don't fully understand the world. It was interesting to read about the demons and the abilities that Carlston and Helen possess. As well as some information about the demons. Helen's reaction to the world and her abilities was completely realistic.

You do get to find out about Helen's mother and why she and her husband tried fleeing London. Unfortunately you are not told what happened the day they drowned. You do not find out what happened to Carlston's wife and why he has been gone for the past 3 years.

The most interesting aspect about the demon's was that Helen actually had a choice in joining the Dark Day's Club. While Carlston's methods are questionable he didn't force Helen to join. Not only that but Helen also finds another way to choose whether she wants to join them. That doesn't usually happen in fantasy so it was interesting to see it play out in this book.

I had only two problems with this. This book is very slow. There isn't a lot of action instead there's a larger focus on the characters. This bothered me at first but then I begun to appreciate it. It's nice to read a book that's character based. I was pretty upset that Helen didn't interact with her brother. There were times when I would wonder what exactly her brother did with his spare time and where was he. This stopped bothering me as well. The author is likely to bring Andrew in more in the next book.

I should add that while there wasn't a lot of romance there is a bit of a love triangle. It's not annoying but it's there. Don't worry it doesn't take over the plot.

Overall I really enjoyed this book! I am looking forward to the sequel! I recommend it to fans of historical fiction, fantasy, and fans of the author.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
538 reviews658 followers
December 19, 2021
*4,5/5 stars*

"Sometimes there is no right choice"

The best part of The Dark Days Club was the amazing mixture of historical and paranormal world-building, and especially how greatly historically accurate the book was! Alison Goodman researched so many historical facts - from politics, food, weather, clothes, dancing, real historical figures, to living conditions and opinions of people from Regency era. It felt like I moved through time and was really there with Lady Helen. I'd say that this book is more Historical Fiction than Fantasy, but there was also very interestingly created paranormal world hidden from the Regency society, which Helen slowly discovers throughout this book. And I cannot wait to read the next book, which will be, hopefully, more invested in the Reclaimer (Alias demon hunter) world.

The characters were likeable (aside for those who weren't meant to be, of course), interestingly developed and most of all realistic.

Lady Helen, while oppressed by her uncle, managed to be strong, inteligent, curious and witty, even when the society around her didn't want her to be. She slowly discovers her Reclaimer abilities, hidden demon world and secret society - The Dark Days Club, alongside the infamous Lord Carlston.
Her reluctant acceptance and struggles with the secret world and her important role in it were believably done, especially when she was told her whole life, like every woman then, that her most important achievement was to find a suitable husband, that she shouldn't act too inteligent or blunt, or no man would want to marry her, when she was taught her whole life what is proper and what is not for young woman of her rank. Her struggles made her character more real.
I can't wait to read the second book where, hopefully, Helen will be more invested in the secret society and finally lerns to fight like a true Reclaimer.

I love that Alison Goodman wrote both her series in times that are hard and not accepting to women, but menaged to create interesting and strong heroines, which are always in some ways defiant of the set society.

It took me awhile to warm toward Lord Carlston. I have learned that in Goodman's novels, it always takes me awhile to start truly like the love interests.
Carlston is mysterious, complicated and tortured man with a bad history. (Which the author still didn't reveal to us. It's a torture to not know what really happened)
As the book progressed I found myself falling under his dark charm more and more, so hopefully I will love him by the end of the second book, just like Helen.
I loved their interactions very much, and definitely can see the slow burning chemistry that is building between them, and while I'm glad that this book wasn't centerd on the romance aspect like so many other books these days are, I want so much more of them in the sequel.

I also liked her maid Darby, and the friendship between her and Lady Helen was beautifully depicted. She was so loyal to Helen, beyond her servant duties, and it was obvious that she believed in her and would do anything for her.

Helen's Aunt was very entertaining character for me, always on track and determinedly focused on her task - finding Helen a suitable match - even when circumstances were against it. While she may not shown her love for her niece in much obvious ways, it was clear for me that she loved her and cared about her opinions and happiness as much as she could, though maybe not always in the best ways.

Than there was her uncle, whom I despised the most, aside for Carlston's bat-shit crazy former mentor Mr. Benchley. Her uncle's opinions were so idiotic it drove me mad. Every time he opened his mouth, which was fortunately not much, some misogynistic idiocy came out. But I know that his character was intentionally written to depict classical example of men from Regency era who had false, stuck beliefs of women.
I don't have much to say about Helen's brother Andrew, except that he seemed to not take anything about life much seriously. And every time Helen said that he would've been better Reclaimer (just because he's a man), I was like no. Not at all! He's far less strong, intelligent and responsible than his sister.
Lastly the Duke of Selburn -

The plot was interesting, even though I know that for some it may seem pretty slow read. Like I said it's more historical than fantasy and by no means is this a fast paced book. It was after all an introductory book. But to be honest, slow paced isn't always a bad thing for me. There's a difference between slow paced and boring book. And The Dark Days Club wasn't at all boring for me, it kept me reading till the end.
The writing style is also worth mentioning, it was beautifully written just as Goodman's previous works, and to my relief, not at all too much flowery.

If you don't mind slower paced books, and like clearly very well researched historical books, with grand world-building and little bit of paranormal (the demon aspect was interesting and different than what I expected) thrown in the mix, then I'm sure you'll enjoy this book greatly.

I'd highly recommend to read this book for fans of Alisson Goodman and her Eon duology. While it is not at all similar, it has this atmospheric feel, just like Eon had.

The Dark Days Club immerses reader into the world of demon-hunter society, intrigue, whispered secrets and Regency Era.

“You have far more courage than you think you do.”
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,587 followers
Want to read
January 4, 2017

Brain: Hang on, we have loads of titles we haven't read yet—




Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,752 followers
Shelved as 'books-i-own-but-haven-t-read-yet'
May 11, 2017
Preview chapters review:

Honestly, I wasn't very interested in this one before I downloaded the SNEAK PEEK on NetGalley, but now . . .

What is it about the idea of prim and proper early 19th century ladies fighting demons and monsters à la Buffy that is so appealing?

Lady Helen is an orphan raised by her childless aunt and uncle. She exists under the constant gloom and speculation of her parents' deaths . . . Her mother, you see, is rumored to be a traitor.

As in treason. Against England.

So that's interesting. Not many well-bred ladies accused of that, are there?

Also interesting is Goodman's obvious determination not to wholly embrace the status quo for thoughts and behaviors of gently-reared ladies of the time.

Even in steampunk, with a multitude of high tech gadgets and gender equality, we frequently see our heroines brandishing umbrellas and the like, b/c it's consistent with the ideal.

And the ideal is a huge part of what makes modern reimaginings of Victorians so popular.

But almost immediately, Goodman has our heroine snickering to herself over some porcelain shoe-shaped contrivance used by ladies to "relieve themselves" when they must wait forever and ever for their name to be called at one of the queen's drawing room introductions.

Apparently, it's called a bourdaloue, and a lady slips it under her massive hooped skirts, and then . . . you know.

Like a guy in a bad '70s movie with an empty beer bottle.

Who ever heard of such a thing?

Historians, that's who. But no one else, b/c INCONGRUENT.

I'm undecided about my feelings on this divergence from tradition, but it's definitely a gutsy move on Goodman's behalf, and that I can respect.

Between that, the strange shimmers Helen sees surrounding certain people, her ability to read people's facial expressions like Lie to Me dude, and the numerous references to the restlessness she contains inside herself, THE DARK DAYS CLUB promises intrigue and adventure, and I'll definitely read the rest of it as soon as it's available.
Profile Image for Brittney Andrews (beabookworm).
135 reviews233 followers
February 15, 2018
My dearest friends,

I am convinced that Buffy the Vampire Slayer + Pride and Prejudice and Zombies had a book baby and named her: The Dark Days Club.



Bio: eighteen; avid reader; curious cat; die-hard romantic; assumes the strength of two grown men when necessary; rebellious; loyal friend; witty; no filter.

Seeking: Answers surrounding the mysterious death of her parents and a man that loves unconditionally, and isn't in a rush to get married.




Bio: five-and-twenty; man of his word; devilishly handsome; strong-willed; terrific ballroom dancer; always impeccably dressed; enjoys horseback riding and saving the lives of the innocent.

Seeking: ? (I actually don't know what da heck he is seeking because he's so goddamn mysterious.)


Let me tell ya, these two beauts definitely wouldn't have swiped right on each other if they had Tinder back in 1812. Fortunately for us readers, Lord Carlston has the answers Lady Helen Wrexhall so desperately seeks and, for Lord Carlston, Lady Helen Wrexhall is the answer he needs for the hell that is to come.

This book was jammed packed with paranormal activity, mysterious murders, wonderful romance, a lot of pride, A LOT of prejudices, and a whole lot of action.

For the love of Regency, do yourself a favour and READ. DIS. BOOK.

Adieu. Yours very truly and affectionately,
B. Andrews
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
675 reviews1,506 followers
September 17, 2020
I absolutely loved this book.

The world building was so unique and beautiful. There was such detail in every word that Alison Goodman put in there. I usually am not the biggest fan of Regency Era books, but it's books like this that make me believe I am born in the wrong Era.

There were like two different words building for me because I am not that knowledgeable in this Era as I am in others. So I was learning more about that while learning more about the paranormal-side gracing the story.

Helen is our heroine and she lives with her aunt and uncle since her brother is old enough to live on his own and her parents died at sea. Her mother is a traitor to the country, so her aunt and uncle are big on her not mentioning/dwelling on her bloodline when it comes to being presented to the court as being eligible for marriage.

Carlston is recently back from the continents. It wasn't proven, but there is a wide belief that he killed his wife four years prior to the start of the book. Helen is not drawn to him at all (hallelujah), but he is drawn to her.

Selburn is a dear friend to Helen's brother Andrew, and a Duke. He has a very colorful history with Carlston and does not like that he is back in town, nor does he like that he is drawn to the same girl that he is drawn to. Is there a reason why they are both drawn to her?

Helen realizes that there is more to the story of her mother the traitor.

You have far more courage than you think you do.

Helen realizes that there is a different world out there that she is suppose to be apart of. There is a part that depends on her. But what if she doesn't want that responsibility? What if she wants to just be the wife of a household with kids and throw house parties for her husband, instead of killing inhuman beings, lying to those she cares about and never fully knowing if she is going to make it to the next day?

What if she had a choice?

What I really liked is that even though she has some suitors and such, she doesn't really have more than one? There isn't really a love triangle; but you do end up questioning who you want her to end up with.

It isn't really focused on the love-aspect of it. It's more focused on Helen's inner-battle on if she wants to wave off the destiny that has been thrown in her lap or if she wants to take it by the hand and help mankind.

This book was very melodic and beautiful. It isn't a very face-paced book, but I was never bored when reading it. I think this book covers an entire month's worth of time. I loved everything about it. If you like Pride and Prejudice type-settings with a little Shadowhunters thrown in there for a good fantasy-like measure, then I think you should pick up this book.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,163 followers
February 10, 2016
I actually DNFed this a month ago, but picked it back up again due to positive encouragement from my co-bloggers and needing to cover this book live on radio (which you can listen to here).

While the pacing of the first half of the book was rather slow and arduous, with a LOT of world building and setting up of the story, it begins to speed up in the second half. Helen gets integrated into the Dark Days Club as she learns more about the scandalous deceivers and how reclaimers can fight against them.

Lady Helen had a hilarious slapstick comedy feel to it, but set in the regency period. I mean there's these hilarious tentacle Deceivers with groping tentacles that come out of their heads that act like whips lol! At first, I was really put off by these weirdly sexual and out of the box tentacles, but they were really hilarious and toned down towards the end of the book. I think if I was forewarned about their existence, I would have prepared myself for them.

There's also some hilarious scenes that are just over-dramaticised, further emphasising the comedy and fun of a paranormal regency. For example, it was hilarious seeing the tall dark and handsome Lord Carlston flip, fight and flail over multiple deceivers and their whips, while everyone stands on and observes in fascination. You can see it happening in your head and it's quite humorous.

The level of care and historical detail that went into the novel was impressive, with Lady Helen acting within the constrains of her society, but still proving to be a strong character of her time. There's enough regency dances, scandals and gossip going around here to keep the pace plodding along. I'm actually quite curious to see where her character goes, especially with what happens towards the end of the novel.

I also liked Lord Carlston's character, and how he was conflicted with his decisions. He's tall, dark, handsome and mysterious, and scandalous in his own right. I liked how he wasn't the typical romance hero who sweeps the heroine away, and how he had secrets of his own. There's traces of romance here, but his role as the conflicted mentor for Helen was his primary focus.

The pacing of the book feels quite off though, as it ramps up super quickly towards the end and seems rushed without much explanation for Helen's decisions.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, despite it's slow beginning and weird tentacle sex demons.

Check out the discussion review on Happy Indulgence!

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gavin.
886 reviews398 followers
February 11, 2019
I was sucked into reading this one by the claims that it was like Buffy the Vampire Slayer set in Regency England. That sounded like a ton of fun! Unfortunately the story never really delivered and was a bit of a bore. Pity as the building blocks were in place for a good story. This was a Regency set paranormal story that mixed mystery, action, weird paranormal happenings, and even a tad of romance.

The sad thing is I felt like the story started well enough. The early stages of the story were intriguing enough. We were introduced to Lady Helen as she started her first season in London. Her overbearing uncle (and guardian) was determined to make sure she behaved properly as her mother had been involved in a bit of a scandal, some her accused of treason, before she died so Lady Helen had to balance her need to be seen as a proper Lady of the time alongside the need to discover more about her growing supernatural abilities. A task that is made more complicated when it becomes clear that the man most able to help her understand her new powers is the scandal tainted Lord Carlston. Carlston's wife disappeared a few years previously and most are convinced her murdered her!

The story could have been quite fun but I feel like it was hindered by two big problems. The first was the fact that Alison Goodman seemed too determined to be historically accurate to the time period. This ended up as a negative as she kept name dropping real historical figures (I always hate that a their arcs are limited) and was fairly accurate with the cultural beliefs of the time. Damn annoying as early 1800s England was riddled with God-obsessed, classist, racist, bigots and misogynists. Accurate, yeah, fun to read about, no!!! The second big issue was the fact that the paranormal elements of the story were actually a bit of a bust. Some of Lady Helen's powers were cool as they were quite Buffy-like but sadly Lady Helen never really used any of her cool ass-kicking powers over the story so they were wasted. The real big flaw was the demons. The creatures absolutely sucked. One of the least cool and least interesting set of paranormal creatures I've ever come across in all my years of reading fantasy. Regular vampires might be as common as muck but they would have been more interesting than these energy sucking duds by far!

All in all I felt like this was a story that had the potential to be good but that the execution was poor. It was probably 3.5 star stuff for the first third of the story but by the end it had all become a bit of a bore and I was glad to just get it wrapped up. I doubt I'll read the sequel.

Rating: 2.5 stars. I'm going to round down as I felt like by the time his one ended it had become a bit of a slog.

Audio Note: I actually felt like Fiona Hardingham did a good job with the audio version. She did a good job with the voices and seemed a perfect fit for Lady Helen.
Profile Image for mith.
762 reviews265 followers
February 13, 2016
If you haven't read this, oh boy, you should. You really, really should.
This was my first read by Alison Goodman and since Eon & Eona have released, I've heard nothing but amazing things about her books.
I can totally see why.
Guys, the WRITING. It's so amazing. I was blown away and this is a person who talks about writing in her reviews though sometimes doesn't even care about it. The world felt so genuine, so realistic, and you can tell that Goodman did her research thoroughly.
And THIS WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. I haven't read a lot of books in the Regency Era, but in the general aspect where propriety is a real issue, I have read. Each and every time, the main character defied the society she lived in. What was new, to me, about this was that Lady Helen wasn't quick to throw that away. In fact, she tried to maintain her status and her propriety throughout the novel. I have so much respect for this woman and she isn't even real. (not that she has to be. but you know what I mean.)
And the female relationship! I completely expected it to be between Lady Helen and her best friend, but instead it was with Lady Helen's maid, Darby! I love such a good female relationship and it warms my heart to know that Darby would do anything for Lady Helen and keep all her secrets, no matter what.
Also, very little romance. Which, honestly, was a bit sad for me because boy when there are hints to a romance but not an actual romance, I start waving my hands like CRAZY at every potential cute scene. The book had a few, which I give it IMMENSE credit for, seeing how a romance here would probably have messed up the social aspects the book has going on. (It's the early 1800's, man, you can't go around and falling for the guy that everyone thinks killed his wife! What would the children think?!)
But more important than the potential-romance would be the building of trust between Lord Carlston and Lady Helen. It happens gradually, maybe even against each other's wills, but it was so nice to read. You can tell they both found one another to be more than what meets the eye.
Yes, it's a bit slow. But it's really interesting. Once you begin reading, you won't want to put it down. So read this.
(also, no, this wasn't anything like Something Strange and Deadly.)
Two things
One, this book is fucking brilliant. I loved everything and everyone.
Two, I'm going to die waiting for the next book.
I wonder if this is like Something Strange and Deadly. I absolutely adore those books so this has my attention.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,157 reviews161 followers
July 18, 2018
T/W- Descriptions of Deaths, Violence

This is definitely one of the most conflicting book reviews I've had to write during my time here on Goodreads. I really wanted to like this one... but I'm still very much on the fence about it. The pacing was far too slow and did take time for the main plot to really kickstart. The main character Helen lives with her Uncle and Aunt in London in the year of 1812. She is now an adult and close to being presented to the Queen, until one of her close handmaids with the family vanishes without a trace. The pleasant surrondings of home fade away as Helen mixes with some new characters including Lord Carlston. He reveals about a hidden secret, that ties Helen's mother in to a different kind of life. Known as The Dark Days Club. It was brutal in places, I got a variety of vibes just from reading the first few chapters. One being a dark mystery, another being like a historical adventure novel. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance, I preferred the action and the learning about Helen's past the most. The writing style was OK but quite long and info-dumpy in places. I do have the sequel, but am still unsure whether I will continue on with the series.

I purchased a copy for my kindle!
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,740 reviews711 followers
February 5, 2016
I took a while to get through this book because I loved it right from the beginning and I wanted to savor it.

I adored Lady Helen from page 1. She's smart and so logical while in the middle of an illogical situation. Lord Carlston was enigmatic and perhaps unintentionally swoony, but I just couldn't get enough of the two of them together. Even though {much to my disappointment} there wasn't much that happened between them. The few long gazes and silent conversations that run rampant in the regency times were deliciously satisfying.

The plot was intriguing and kept me guessing until the very end. I have a theory and since nothing was completely revealed, I'm still going to think I'm right.

There better be at least one more book and as soon as I'm able to, I'm going to get it in my greedy hands.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
April 29, 2016
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review.

Wowza, what a ride! Allison Goodman is a master at depicting 18th century London in all its glory! She brings her own fascinating twist though. Reclaimers versus deceivers are thrown into battle every day and no normal human being even knows. I loved everything about this book. The detailed imagery and scenes, to the slow burning chemistry between our two main characters, to the detailed descriptions of gowns and carriages, loved it all. The only thing I had a problem was the pacing. It took a long time for me to even get into the middle of the plot. Or to have anything happen at all because everything happened so slowly but it was well worth the wait. The ending was just great, leaving book one enough closure, but knowing there's a whole heck more than can be done in this new world Goodman has created.

Learned so much about 18th Century London that I had to Google some words because they were old fashioned. It gave me an even more broader sense of detail because I could depict everything as it was happening. There's also a lot of characters and their names are a little similar and I had a little trouble at first, but then I got used to all their titles and names.

I love Lady Helen as a main character because she is kind and generous, but also very strong and independent. Her Uncle made me so mad at times. I would have liked to punch him lol Then there's Lord Carlston, he reminded me of Darcy from Pride and Prejudice being so mysterious and quiet. Be patient when you're reading this because it's a slow build mystery...as well as a slow burning romance. All tender looks and wanton stares! Gave me goosebumps when they would stare at each other LOL! Even having the characters dialogue with each other were just fun to read because they talked proper and formal.

This is definitely a must-read for paranormal and historical fans alike! You won't regret it.



"If you are to become a wife, you must learn that obedience is the cornerstone of femininity." (151)

"But like so much in this world, its true worth is hidden inside." (165)

"His looks may be noble, but his heart is far from it." (246)

"A woman is made to do as men tell her; that is the natural order." (372)

"You have far more courage than you think you do." (403)
Profile Image for Medini.
381 reviews58 followers
April 12, 2020

The Dark Days Club begins with the protagonist, Lady Helen Wrexhall’s Court Presentation before Queen Charlotte. Helen is an orphan. Her parents perished at sea ten years ago leaving her and her brother, Andrew in the guardianship of their Uncle and Aunt, the Lord and Lady Pennworth. Helen is constantly reproached for her natural intelligence, curiosity and wit, which is of course unbecoming in a young, unmarried lady. Her resemblance to her mother is frowned upon, especially since her mother was rumored to be a traitor to the Crown.

This book is very similar to These Shallow Graves in terms of the setting, a tantalizing mystery, the strong female lead and the inappropriate love interest. However The Dark Days Club has a paranormal twist; demons roam the streets of London disguised as humans and it is responsibility of the 'Dark Days Club' to vanquish them. The plot is a little slow paced for such an exciting theme and there were (very) few action packed scenes, but I was never bored for an instant.

Helen is such a wonderful character: strong, sensible and witty. She’s the perfect combination of practical and emotional and I loved her.

“Promise me you won’t make such deplorable jests at Almack’s,” her aunt continued.
“No jests,” Helen promised dutifully, but could not help adding, “Perhaps I should not speak again until I am married.”

“Promise me you will have some proper conversation ready for your dance partners. And make your little quips less political. It does not do for a girl your age to be so aware.”

I wished Helen had had a better relationship with Andrew, who I didn’t love. I really liked Aunt Leonore, but I despised her Uncle.

“Your father’s will has placed you in my care until you are twenty-five, or until another man is willing to take on the burden of your well-being. If you are to become a wife, you must learn that obedience is the cornerstone of femininity.”

The love interest, Lord Carlston seems like a really deep character, but we’ve barely scratched his surface in this book. From the description of the romance in the blurb, I was expecting to be swooning over him and fanning myself with a Vernis Martin fan, but in reality the romance is almost non-existent. Also, there is a teeny-tiny love triangle.

The oppression of the women of this era fills me with so much fury. They had absolutely no freedom at all; their lives were full of parties, promenades, dress fittings and balls, everything centered on finding the perfect husband.

‘Delia had none of the essential three- beauty, high connections or fortune- and, at twenty years of age, knew she was coming to the end of her opportunities. She had even confided in Helen and Millicent that all she could see ahead was spinsterhood and its associated humiliations.’

I’m willingly rounding my rating to 4 stars coz this book is the reason I love historical fiction as a genre. The beautifully apt writing and the setting alone deserve 5 darkly glittering stars. Alison Goodman’s research into the Regency period (1811 to 1820) is evident in the mysterious, richly elaborated atmosphere that has so masterfully been brought to life in this book; London during that time period, the peoples’ mannerisms, the fashion, the dances, the food, the publications and even the phases of the moon are historically accurate. Also, historical personalities in the form of the Prince of Wales (Prinny), Queen Charlotte and Lord Byron appear as minor characters, which was so much fun to read. The details regarding the Vauxhall Gardens, Prime Minister Perceval’s assassination, the Ratcliffe Highway murders and Lord Byron’s affair are so intriguing and add so much authenticity to the plot itself; I loved this part of the book.

If you’re still not sold, maybe you should check out the kind of research the author did for this book. It’s pretty cool.

I, for one, cannot WAIT for the next book (which is due so damn far away!).

HIGHLY RECCOMENDED for fans of historical fiction.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,863 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.