Book Review: The Dark Affair by Máire Claremont

The Dark Affair by Máire ClaremontTitle: The Dark Affair
Series: Mad Passions, Book 3
Author: Máire Claremont
Genre: Historical Romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy provided via NetGalley
Published: March 4, 2014 by Signet Eclipse

Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Nuance historical romance I enjoyed even with its PG-13 romance.

The Set Up: Margaret left Ireland after the famine that decimated her homeland to care for war veterans addicted to opium. Her latest patient is self-destructive Lord Powers whose father hires Margaret. Powers uses opium for the few brief moments of oblivion it gives him and isn’t sure he wants to change his life but Margaret challenges this thinking with her plain-spoken truths. Margaret and Powers both have built walls around their inner selves and it’s up to them to tear them down enough to have a relationship.

Why I Read this Book: I’ve really enjoyed this gothic series with realistic leads in believable romances.

What I Liked: The beauty of this book, and series, is how human and imperfect the characters are. Margaret and Powers are both deeply flawed people who make grave mistakes they almost can’t live with and I found them compelling. Powers “weakness” for opium and the momentary oblivion it can offer is a realistic portrayal of addiction and how it never really goes away. The author doesn’t just have Margaret miraculously save Powers but has them work toward a realistic recovery where Powers accepts life’s pain and sorrow along with moments of happiness. Margaret is also a complex character with PTSD of her own and watching her and Powers navigate her emotional distance issues is compelling. This romance is emotionally laden from beginning to end as these two flawed characters find solace and comfort in each other.

What I Also Liked: Margaret’s family is heavily involved in the Irish plight and this was an interesting part of both her character and the plot. I thought I knew how it would turn out but I didn’t and I liked the novel better for that.

I also liked Powers’ father’s role in the book. He’s given a meaningful role Powers’ recovery and I think it was handled with care and warmth.

What I Didn’t Like: This isn’t an erotic romance at all. Readers get a few kisses and one slightly more erotic scene but readers like me who want lots of spice in romance will be disappointed. I think the emotional intimacy between the leads as well as their chemistry made up for it to some extent but I would have liked a bit more s-e-x.

IMO: The Dark Affair walks the perfect balance between angst and melodrama to be a compelling and nuanced historical romance with realistic leads.

J9’s Rating:
3 1/2 Frogs

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J9’s reviews for other books in this series:
The Dark Lady, Book 1
Lady in Red, Book 2

About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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