Sometimes authors will surprise you. I speak, in this case, of Ken Follett and his upcoming novel, A Column Of Fire. As a voracious reader, it is seldom that I am without reading material, but I have recently stagnated with new books and writers. I’ve tried a plethora of unknown authors and their works, but none have sated my current needs, my hunger to read. Therefore, it was almost stunning when I was offered the chance to shine a spotlight on this book, one that I have not, as of yet, read. But there is more to the Kingsbridge series and its creator than one might think. I hold a special place in my heart for Follett that I will try to put into words.
The Dark Days Club, last year’s debut of the Lady Helen novels, topped my list of favorite books for the year and earned a spot on our Winter Reads list. Set in 1812 England, the book introduced readers to Lady Helen Wrexhall, an 18-year-old ward of her aunt and uncle whose late mother was deemed a traitor. Helen has little interest in finding a suitable husband, as is expected of her; instead, she’d rather explore her family history and help her best friend, who’s suffered through an indecent experience. But soon, she discovers that she has incredibly rare powers, which leads her to the Dark Days Club, which has others like her who dedicate their lives to hunting demons known as Deceivers.
The year 1812 is famous for the war that saw the United States of America against the United Kingdom in what was essentially an extension of the American Revolutionary War, as well as for the continuation of the Napoleonic Wars, a segment of which pitted the UK against France. So, the British were very busy fighting their known foes at the time. But, what about those enemies who lurk amongst them in plain sight? In The Dark Days Club, the streets of Regency-era London are more dangerous than anyone can imagine.
In this first Lady Helen novel, set in 1812, 18-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall lives in London with her aunt and uncle. Now that she’s of age, her family is putting their efforts into finding a suitable husband for the young woman, who suddenly finds herself questioning that kind of life that’s been arranged for her. It turns out she’d rather just keep house for her older brother, which would give her a little more freedom, and spend time investigating what really happened to her mother, who died labeled a traitor; to her best friend, who recently ran off with a man she wasn’t married to; and to one of the maids in her home, who’s suddenly gone missing.