Title: Lady in Red
Series: Mad Passions, Book 2
Author: Maire Claremont
Genre: Historical romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: October 1, 2013 by Signet Eclipse
Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…
Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Dark and emotional historical romance with two very damaged leads that I devoured. My huge complaint is I often felt like scenes were shifted too quickly and caused me lots of confusion as I read.
The Set Up: Lady Mary’s father killer her mother and locked Mary away in an evil asylum. Mary managed to escape and meets Edward, the Duke of Fairleigh who sees in Mary a chance to help a destitute woman when he couldn’t others in his past. Mary and Edward battle their demons and Mary’s father but they don’t want to battle each other.
Why I Read this Book: I so enjoyed book one in this series and was awaiting book 2’s release.
What I Liked: This is a captivating gothic romance dripping in emotional intrigue. Mary and Edward each have demons that nearly cripple them but they cautiously turn to each other and this is powerful to read. Edward’s desire to help Mary recover from her torture is believable, as is Mary’s determination and caution. I love the scene where Edward encourages Mary’s sexual exploration as I think it had believable tension and eroticism for these two deeply damaged characters. This isn’t the most erotic romance but its emotional intensity more than made up for the lack of bedroom antics, besides, with Mary’s past this romance made the most sense.
I also like how mature both characters are. They acknowledge their relationship started as them using each other and has morphed into something more. They have a maturity that I greatly enjoyed.
What I Also Liked: The plot is a gothic suspense that set the tone of the book. Mary’s revenge quest on her father is one readers will root for and how this unfolds kept my attention. I love Edward’s quasi-friend, Powers, who helps Mary in her quest but is battling his own demons with addiction and guilt. I hope he’ll be the lead in a subsequent book as he was a captivating character for me. Finally, I love that this book allows vengeance and forgiveness to all happen simultaneously. What happens to the henchman that assaults the woman who helps Mary is gory brilliance and unexpected. Mary’s quest was a bit conveniently concluded but had a satisfying conclusion as well.
What I Didn’t Like: I wanted to love this book but on multiple occasions I felt ripped out of one scene and suddenly dropped into a new one. I even thought some of my pages were missing. For example, Edward and Mary are in the library getting ready to read a book together and suddenly a week or more has past and they’re visiting Mary’s mother’s grave. This happens multiple times and jerked me out of the story as I had to figure out what I’d missed.
IMO: Lady in Red is a very good gothic historical romance but the confusing jumps in scenes happened often enough to diminish my overall enjoyment.
J9’s reviews for other books in this series:
The Dark Lady, Book 1