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lady helenWhat: Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

Who: HarperCollins – AU

When: December 14th 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Harper Collins Australia for review.

London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her debut at the court of Queen Charlotte and officially step into polite Regency society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know that step will take her from the opulent drawing rooms of Mayfair and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of missing housemaids and demonic conspiracies.

Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of ruined reputation and brusque manners. He believes Helen has a destiny beyond the ballroom; a sacred and secret duty. Helen is not so sure, especially when she discovers that nothing around her is quite as it seems, including the enigmatic Lord Carlston.

Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St James’s Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self-discovery and dark choices that must be made … whatever the consequences.

1cat2I’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

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Posted on: December 16, 2015 • By: Chiara

12 Responses to Seven Weird and Unlikeable Things About Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

  1. Bec says:

    Well we basically had the complete opposite reactions to the book haha. I did manage to enjoy this, but I do really like historical fiction and am used to slow pacing and things that come with it.

    I hope your next book was more enjoyable for you :)

    • Chiara says:

      That’s good, though! I always love to see different opinions on books :D I think historical fiction is hit or miss with me, because there are some that I LOVE, but this one was a bit flat for me.

      Thanks, Bec!

  2. Agh, this sounds like a nightmare. I’m kind of hesitant to want to read it anyway because I found Eon really boring. :O MY BAD. But I am a little bit curious so….idek. But I’m so sick of books about sexism. I get that it’s historically accurate but I just…I don’t feel like reading it anymore!! I want to read about books where gender equality is just a given. SO GIVE ME FANTASY. (Except fantasy usually suffers from this too. >_> I can never win. I may cry.)
    The sex demon is just…WHAT EVEN.

    • Chiara says:

      One of the reasons I read this one is because I had heard so many good things about Eon! And now I’m scared to read it D: I totally feel you. I am just 100% completely over reading about sexism in books, even if it is accurate. I don’t want that in my life :/ The sex demon was probably the weirdest aspect of this book for sure!

  3. Yikes, I definitely won’t be picking this up. (Pulsing tentacle? Weird weird weird for sure.) I read Eon by Alison Goodman a long time ago and while I thought the concept was cool, the book really didn’t click for me. From what you’ve said about Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, I’m definitely giving the rest of Alison’s stuff a pass. Sigh.

  4. HAHAHHA Omg Chiara this is so hilarious! I’m just sitting here giggling at the siphoning penis hahahha! Looks like we had pretty similar reactions, I don’t read historical fiction much either so it was hard to get into.

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it ;D I really wanted to love this one, because I’d read an historical YA not that long ago and LOVED it. I guess it’s like any genre – hits and misses!

  5. I’ve actually gotten really into historical fiction, so I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while. When Jeann told me about the weird ass tentacle though, I was really confused!! I thought this was YA?! I think you might like ‘A Breath of Frost’ by Alyxandra Harvey a lot more. The characters are great, stands up for themselves and takes no shit, especially for regency ladies. Give that one a go! Thanks for the brutally honest review lovely, I will proceed with lowered expectations

    • Chiara says:

      I read a historical fiction book a little before I read this one, and LOVED IT, so I was really keen for this one. So I’m super sad it didn’t turn out to be something I liked. I think it might be more of a YA/adult cross-over! Ah, I actually have that one :D Thank you for telling me about it – I might have to bump it up on the TBR. No problem, Joy!

  6. Ack! I’m reading this one at the moment and TOTALLY LOVING IT. It’s so weird how opinions differ sometimes. I luuuurve historical fiction, though, and this one is right up my alley!

    • Chiara says:

      I think that’s what makes this community interesting! I love seeing everyone’s different thoughts on books :D I’m glad you’re enjoying it, though, Brittany!

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