We are super excited to be a part of the blog tour for Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman and we have a fun guest post from her to share, but first, how about the book details:Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
(Website, Twitter, Facebook)Also by this author: The Dark Days Deceit
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on January 1st 2017
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.
What 5 books would Lady Helen be reading?
Lady Helen is a well-educated lady, so she is quite wide in her reading tastes. The following are books that are available to Lady Helen during the Regency (and a bit beyond):
Sense and Sensibility: Helen has heard that the anonymous author of this book was in fact a Miss Jane Austen from Chawton. Upon reading the novel, Helen felt a certain empathy for the character of Elinor, being both practical and rational herself, and not prone to advertising her emotions.
Frankenstein: since Helen is very interested in Natural Philosophy (the Regency name for science) and has met Lord Byron—a friend of the author—she read Miss Shelley’s novel and was quite moved by its profound exploration of monsters and men, particularly since she herself is dealing with both everyday.
Pride and Prejudice: Another of Miss Austen’s efforts and, to Helen’s eyes, slightly superior to Sense and Sensibility. Helen vastly enjoyed the character of Elizabeth Bennet and felt a certain kinship with that lady’s cleverness and irreverence. Helen also saw some striking similarities between Lord Carlston’s personality and Miss Austen’s rather attractive creation, Mr Darcy.
Vanity Fair: Vanity Fair: A rather biting but funny novel serialized in 1847 about the rise of a most morally regrettable (but rather amusing) heroine, Becky Sharp
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: When it was published, Lord Byron’s poem sold out in five days, but Helen, keen on all literature, was one of the lucky ones to secure a first copy. The poem made Lord Byron famous overnight and Helen heard that some ladies even scandalously wrote to him and offered themselves for his pleasure! Many young ladies commissioned little miniatures of him and carried them displayed upon their gowns. Helen, however, was not quite so taken with the man, since she had seen the truth of his rather selfish heart with her special Reclaimer abilities. Nevertheless, she did think his poetry was sublime and that he was rather handsome: dark, like Lord Carlston, although not quite as tall or well made as that gentleman. And, possibly, not quite as infuriating as Lord Carlston.
I had been waiting to get my hands on The Dark Days Pact since I finished The Dark Days Club. This series is a great mix of historical and paranormal and I love everything about it. Of course, there is a bit of romance, angst, and quite a bit of danger for these characters.
If you recall, The Dark Days Club left off with Lady Helen essentially being disowned by her uncle and with nowhere else to go, Helen ends up staying with Lady Margaret and Mr. Hammond while in Brighton. This is a perfect cover for her to continue her training with Lord Carlston and transform into her role as a Reclaimer.
This book picks up shortly after the group has made their way to Brighton and Helen is working hard to embrace this new part of herself, which includes changing all the things she has had ingrained into her since she was a young girl. As a Reclaimer she will need to go places a Lady would never be able to go so the decision is made to disguise herself as a young man when necessary. This means changing her voice, her walk, and her hair and clothing. It isn’t an easy adjustment but Helen is willing to do whatever she needs to in order to show she is committed to her new position.
I really do love Helen as a character. She could easily take the path of least resistance and embrace the life her uncle and brother want her to have but she knows it isn’t the right road for her. I also like that she is willing to dive right into her Reclaimer role and do whatever it takes to help and protect the people around her from the dangers that surround her and the Club.
While Helen is going through a change, Lord Carlston is as well. He hasn’t really been himself and it is obvious to them all that he is struggling with something. He not only has unexplained headaches but he also has times where he is unable to control himself and with his level of power, it is difficult for anyone to stop him. At first it is unclear as to what the trigger is but eventually Helen comes to a conclusion but in the meantime, it is this struggle that prompts Carlston to make an agreement with a Deceiver.
The relationship between Helen and Carlston is a slow burn for sure. There is progress in this book (when you get to the one part…ahhhh) but the angst is still there and these two have some definite hurdles to work through. They both have their doubts about themselves which then translates to doubts about each other so it isn’t going to be an easy road for them. Hence the sloooowwww burn.
All of the normal secondary characters are back and I thought Goodman did a great job of integrating them into the story as it continued to move forward. We learn more about Mr. Hammond and I loved that he had more time working with Helen. Of course, despite all the things Helen does to get the Duke of Selburn to walk away from her, he refuses. I’m on the fence with him. He is doing whatever he can to protect Helen and I appreciate that but he does some things that I don’t like. Granted, some of those feelings may be because I really want Helen and Carlston to figure things out. Of course, Lady Margaret is her usual self.
Outside of the normal cast of characters, we also get some new people introduced into the group for this book. First is Pike, the Second Secretary to the Home Office. He is a very questionable character and it was tough to figure out what his endgame was. He has secrets but he is one of those people who isn’t above using threats and coercion to get what he wants. Helen’s friend Delia also makes an appearance in this book and I liked her addition to the story.
This book gives us a little bit more around the Grand Deceiver and what Helen’s role is in the whole scheme of things but I wanted to know more. I feel like this book set the stage for taking a deeper dive into what’s to come but I’m impatient…the little bit at the end wasn’t enough for me. With that said, we did learn a bit more about Helen’s powers and what might set her apart enough to defeat the Grand Deceiver when it comes to it.
The other focal point in this book is a journal that Benchley created and it is what everyone is ultimately looking for…all for different reasons. Of those that are aware of this journal, not everyone knows exactly what it is. Pike is the one to reveal the most information to Helen and it just happens that Benchley was crazier than everyone thought. He basically created a Ligatus which happens to be a book that combines both Deceiver and Reclaimer blood and through alchemy it is one of the key items that could be used to open a door to the place where Deceivers originate. So obviously that has to be destroyed and everyone wants it but Helen is the one tasked with chasing it down. I’m not going to say much more about this but this is one of the key storylines that pushes everything forward.
I mentioned this previously, but I love how Goodman has successfully combined historical with paranormal. The plots could easily go awry with these storylines but Goodman combines just enough of each to blend them together into a wonderful story that kept my attention and made it hard to put the book down. She clearly has done her research on the era and covers off on everything from etiquette to clothing in a way that isn’t boring but then mixes in something completely off the wall (like teaching a lady to fight with a cane) which made it even better.
This book was just as good as the first one and I don’t even know how I am going to be able to wait for the third book because that ending punched me right in the feels. I knew it wasn’t going to be resolved the way I wanted when I noticed how few pages were left after all the danger was wrapped up. You can bet that as soon as I can get my hands on a copy of the next book, I will be diving right in. If you enjoy a historical that blends in some paranormal aspects, danger, and a bit of romance, definitely check this series out.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!