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A fascinating and exasperating young lady
The Marquess of Darkefell has enough to worry about with a bloodthirsty wild beast rampaging the countryside and sinister fam
A fascinating and exasperating young lady
The Marquess of Darkefell has enough to worry about with a bloodthirsty wild beast rampaging the countryside and sinister family secrets to protect. Then Lady Anne Addison arrives, with unquenchable curiosity and intelligence that drive him to distraction
An infuriatingly unyielding man
Lady Anne finds the marquess darkly handsome, seductive, and forceful, with a ruthless magnetism that challenges and stimulates her. But he seems determined to keep secrets that may threaten both herself and her helpless friend
Thrown together in a time of crisis, with a murderer on the loose, the marquess picks an absolutely dreadful moment and the worst possible way to declare his intentions
PRAISE FOR DONNA LEA SIMPSON:
"Donna Lea Simpson is absolutely brilliant."
"Impossible-to-put-down romance with just the right touch of the ominous, the perfect amount of suspense, and plenty of sexual tension to keep you reading late into the night and finish satiated."
"Simpson excels at imbuing her realistic characters with subtle depths
John Charles, American Library Association
a treat for lovers of gothic romance
"There's a natural progression here from the traditional gothic of eerie occurrences with rational explanations to a true paranormal twist, and Simpson keeps the sultry sensuality at a strong simmer."
Nina Davis, Booklist
Excerpt from Chapter One
What was it about Lydia's letter that worried Anne so deeply?
Lady Anne Addison clung to a handle on the interior wall of the Royal Mail coach...
Excerpt from Chapter One
What was it about Lydia's letter that worried Anne so deeply?
Lady Anne Addison clung to a handle on the interior wall of the Royal Mail coach as they jounced along a Yorkshire highway in the fading twilight, and thought about the letter that had sent her scurrying north. Lady John BestwickMiss Lydia Moore before marriage to Lord John Bestwick, younger brother of the Marquess of Darkefellwas desperately unhappy. As charming as Lord John had been prior to their marriage four months before, now he was horrible and left her alone for hours with her mother-in-law, who despised her, Lydia claimed in her latest letter to Anne. She hinted at worse; her husband had faults she hadn't known of when she said her vows. Anne wondered what those faults could be. She feared the worst, abuse or perversion, and would let her dear friend Lydia, who hadn't sufficient strength of character to assert her own will, suffer from neither.
With a long knowledge of Lydia's tendency to dramatize herself and her sufferings, (Anne had once been engaged to Lydia's beloved brother, though poor Reginald had died in a military engagement), Anne would not necessarily have given credence to those afflictions, but something in the letter made her uneasy. It was, she thought, something between the words something underlying the sentences. Lydia truly was desperately afraid, but it was impossible to discover the source of her fear without direct questioning, which could not be done by letter.
Still, Anne would have used her own carriage and driver, a slower but more comfortable way to travel all the way to Yorkshire, but for Lydia's horrified assertion that a werewolf haunted the Darkefell estate grounds at night. During the full moon, the beast had been witnessed standing on two legs and speaking English.
Utter tripe, Anne reflected, primming her mouth and staring out through the carriage window at the wild, rocky landscape. Fairy tales told to frighten little children into behaving. But still she was intrigued, the fantastical tale slicing through the tedium of days that had become a little humdrum of late.
The full moon was just days away. The letter had been bleak and despairing enough that Anne had set out immediately, committing her safety, if not her comfort, to the Royal Mail. So she hurtled along this northern road using the latest madness in travel, the swift but jarring Royal Mail run. Fast it wasshe had left London only the day before at four in the afternoon, and already she was in Yorkshirebut exceedingly uncomfortable, too.
The slanting rays of sunset poured through the glass and directly into her eyes as they bumped over every rut in the indifferent road. Wedged in by her seat companion, an enormous, snoring woman, she could not reach over to draw the curtain. Ill with fatigue and trying to quell her nausea, Anne took a deep breath and regretted it immediately. The snoring woman reeked of heavy perfume, the stinking scent battling the fetid aroma of body dirt, the flatulent eruptions from the sleeping gentleman opposite her, and the stench of sour milk from the slumbering child next to him.
They could not arrive at Staunby, her destination, quickly enough for her. Her maid, Mary, and her trunks would follow, but she would be on the scene, at least, before the full moon.
The clarion call of the post horn indicated either an inn or a tollgate was imminent; Anne fervently prayed it was the post-house at Staunby. It was, and with blinding swiftness, Lady Anne and her portmanteaux were deposited with less consideration than the bag of mail, to stand bewildered and disoriented near the post-house door.
"I beg your pardon," she said politely to the rotund little fellow who was lugging the heavy canvas mail bag toward the post-house. "Is there a carriage to meet me?"
"Carriage, miss?" the postal employee absently asked, blinking at her and scratching his behind. The post-house was a small cottage just a few yards from him, within ames ace; the interior, visible through the open door, was warmly lit with inviting lamplight. He shrugged, then turned away and continued pulling.
"My name is Lady Anne Addison," Anne said through gritted teeth, following him, "and I believe my friend, Lady John Bestwick, has arranged transport for me to Darkefell Castle. Where is my carriage?"
"Darkefell Castle?" With a swift burst of strength, he hauled the mailbag up over his shoulder and scuttled into the post-house, slamming the door shut. There followed the unmistakable sound of the bolt being shot.
Anne is expecting a carriage to take her to Darkefell Castle. When she is refused, she walks on foot through the remote area. As night falls, Anne hears a woman screams and comes upon a body that has been torn apart. Anne rushes for help and arrives at the castle. She is not expected because Lydia has not told anybody. The residence is in shock to see Anne because she is covered in blood. The Marquess of Darkefell is more annoyed by Annes arrival. Anne is out of sorts because Lydia has lied to her. Lydia wants Anne to investigate these alleged werewolf sightings and killings. Anne reluctantly does what her friend asks, much to the disapproval of the Marquess. Darkefell has no choice but to help Anne, simply for the fact he doesnt want her to snoop around where she shouldnt.
As Anne and Darkefell become partners, they find out there is something more dastardly going on at the castle. But Darkefell has some family secrets that should just must remain that. And if he has to stop Anne from putting her nose where it shouldnt belong, so be it.
Those who are longing for a nice gothic read will want to pick up LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK. The atmosphere and mystery written by Donna Lea Simpson is top notch. Anne is a very likeable heroine who ends up in an incredible situation that places her life in danger. She matches wits with the Marquess of Darkefell who is so used to being obeyed in everything, that he is so off center when it comes to the fair Anne who wont be ordered around
Some parts are a bit slow and if you are expecting a romance to blossom between Anne and Darkefell, you will be disappointed. There are the makings on one, but nothing is concluded between the two, which leads me to believe there will be a sequel in the future.
Donna Lea Simpson is a talented author who has written a lovely historical mystery with LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK.
Donna Simpson crafts a lovely, historical novel, creating a plethora of delightful characters in this wonderful start of a new series. Lady Anne is a first-rate mystery of the highest quality, filled with delicious historical details and plot-twists that will capture the imagination.
Lady Anne Addison is a noblewoman in the late eighteenth century visiting her spooked friend, Lydia, in Yorkshire, who is certain she has seen a werewolf prowling the estate where she and her husband live. A werewolf, however, is only the beginning of the story, with the body of a servant-girl turning up upon Anne’s arrival and the start of a romance between Anne and Lydia’s brother-in-law, the Marquess of Darkefell. Lady Anne is a complex story of deception and hidden trysts, marked by the intense humanity and believability of even the smallest characters.
I highly recommend this book! This being my introduction to this excellent author, I was stunned by how well-orchestrated the novel was. Everything fell together seamlessly, and the interplay between the leads was humorous and natural. An lovely mystery and romance. 5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewer Comments: Lady Anne Addison has been called to her friend’s place to help her through a difficult time. Lydia is newly married and worried her husband has already begun to wander. On a dark night, after having to walk to the castle, Lady Anne stumbles across a body, that of Lydia’s personal maid. Lady Anne is forthright, forward and at times overbearing according to those around her. She wants to find out who killed the maid and then move on. The lord of the manor is not likely to let that happen. Her friend Lydia is the sister to Lady Anne’s now deceased fiancé.
The Marquess of Darkefell, Lord Anthony Bestwick finds Lady Anne frustrating, too nosy but also very attractive. He is stunned when she turns up in his life and when she turns his life upside down. He tries to stop her in as many ways as he can when she is determined to discover who or what the werewolf is and who killed the maid. Lord Anthony is kept very busy trying to keep up with Lady Anne and also to investigate on his own. Anthony tries to find out all he can about Lady Anne so he can woo and win her.
This was a different type of historical but also under the suspense genre. The hero and heroine do have some chemistry but Lady Anne is very restrained and unaccepting of Anthony. She is a bluestocking of the highest order. She does kiss him but her image is one that projects she still mourns her dead fiancé and this seems a way in which she can keep the males away. Lady Anne does not want the men too close to her but is happy to have a flirtation. Lady Anne is a very strong woman who knows what she wants and when she wants it and is somewhat different to what a reader might traditionally expect.
The reader can see throughout the story that Lady Anne is quite resistant to Anthony and the reader is able to make this connection easily and with some entertainment. There is a chemistry between the pair but as per the times they leave the attraction at kissing only.
The reader may be disappointed at the end of this as there is not the traditional happy ever after that might be expected from historical stories. However, the story between Lady Anne and Anthony continues in the next story. I imagine Lady Anne will lead him on a merry chase.
Lady Anne Addison is well-known for her keen sense and extreme persistence, but due to her plain features and cleverness (qualities most men find unappealing), her mother had feared Anne would never gain the attention of potential suitors. Her mother decided to raise her in the edicts of “Lady-Like” behavior and instructed Anne to downplay her intelligence until she was married. After catching the interest of a young man, her engagement came to a devastating end. Her fiancé was killed in battle. Anne vowed never to let the restrictions of marriage interfere with displaying her true personality. She is completely satisfied with living the life of a spinster, waiting for Mr. Right to appear.
In response to a startling letter from a dear friend, Lady Lydia Bestwick, who pleaded for Anne’s assistance, Anne wasted no time in traveling north to Darkefell Estate. Assuming from the information Anne gathered from Lydia’s letter, she was concerned that her friend is being mistreated by her newly married husband, John Bestwick. Also, Lydia expressed a terrifying mystery involving rumors of a werewolf roaming the lands, frightening young women and slaughtering livestock. Since Anne has always been intrigued by a challenging mystery, she was eager to investigate these sightings.
It was just a short time before Anne stumbled across her first murder scene. Hearing a blood chilling howl in the dark, followed by a petrifying scream, that was later identified as Lady Lydia’s maidservant, Cecilia Wainwright. Among the chaos and confusion that ensued over the murdered woman, Anne had a chance to be introduced to the Darkefell Family and their inhabitants. Using this opportunity, she began her interrogation, but was constantly interrupted by the Marques of Darkefell, who made it a habit o interfering with her plans. It almost seemed as though the Marques is concealing some deep dark secret from her. Could he be the murderer?
Lady Anne is faced with several challenges and multiple mysteries. She is determined to continue her investigation at any cost, but what she did not foresee was her growing attraction towards a man who is known for his arrogant, self centered and egotistical ways. How will Anne be able to resist the Marques’s handsome features, dark, sensuous eyes, and lean, masculine build, without straying from her quest? Will she be able to solve the curse behind Darkefell Estate before the werewolf claims its next victim?
Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark is a charming and delightful read. The witty nature between Lady Anne and Lord Darkefell is fascinating and will hold the attention of the reader all the way through the story. Donna Lea Simpson has managed to write an inspiring, creative and pleasurable tale, with appealing characters and an intriguing plot that will have the reader guessing until the very end. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is fond of historical romance and mystery genres.
Donna Lea Simpson is a nationally bestselling romance and mystery novelist with over twenty titles published in the last ten years and over 400,000 copies sold. Donna believes that a dash of mystery adds piquancy to a romance title, and a hint of romance adds humanity to a mystery story, Donna lives in Canada.
Lady Anne is traveling to see her friend Lydia after receiving a plea of help from her. What she encounters on the way and after she gets there is nothing she expected.
"What the devil are you?" a new voice demanded. "And do you always come visiting at all hours and covered in blood?"
Well, she knows how to make an entrance, huh?
Donna Lea Simpson has written a compelling tale reminiscent of traditional Gothic romances and left me wanting to read more of her books.
This thriller is set in England portraying the life of nobility living in the country. Two friends are separated by miles but they communicate through letters, one desperately afraid the other one desperate to help her friend.
It is believed that a werewolf haunts the Darkefell Estates and the twists and turns and even a little unexpected romance and murder make this an intriguing book. Simpson starts right out grabbing your attention from the first page. Then she keeps you wondering whats going to happen next. The biggest question throughout the book is "Is there an actual werewolf running around the estate?" Read the book to find out.
The characters are a great mixture of personalities some likable, one quite likable.
Once you start this book you wont want to put it down until you finish the very last page.
I was a little disappointed in the ending, it wasnt what I expected but perhaps Simpson will continue the story in another book.
Lady Anne is not the typical "lady" of the late 1700s. She tried to be the hair-brained, I-need-a-husband lass, but when her fiance dies, it is a blessing for her. Having been left a considerable amount of money by her paternal grandmother, she decides she would rather be single and not have to hide her intelligence and quick wit. Not being a beauty, she doesnt have to worry about fending off any would-be suitors.
When Lydia, a dear friend and her deceased fiances sister, writes her and begs her to come, Lady Anne immediately responds. Lydia hinted at there being mysterious things going on at Darkefell Castle and the possibilities of a werewolf. Unfortunately Lydia fails to tell the rest of the household of Lady Annes imminent arrival.
Since there is no carriage to take Lady Anne from the post house to the castle, and it is nearing dusk, she sets out on foot. As darkness descends, she hears a howl and a womans screams. Trying to find the woman in the dark seems futile, until, as luck would have it, she stumbles over her body - but it is too late. She continues to make her way to the castle and arrives, unannounced, covered in blood with questions already arising.
The Marquess of Darkefell is a brooding handsome man who finds Lady Anne to be very bothersome. She insists on prying into his familys secrets - secrets he wishes to remain hidden. At the same time, her seemingly unflappable resolve and calm around him has him mystified. He has never met a woman who has been immune to his charms. He is also entertained by her quick wit and intelligence.
I highly recommend this book. Donna Lea Simpsons writing style is very engaging and draws you in immediately. She gives great descriptions of both countryside and characters.
She had dressed her bonnet with some of the purple tulips from her crushed bouquet, and as they nodded above her shadowed face, she looked both absurd and oddly adorable. He glanced at the path then back at her. It was true her nose was a little too long and her chin too pointed. There was a faint equine suggestion about the nose and generous mouth. Her color was good, though, and her dark hair glossy; she glowed with health and vivacity. (from Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, p 207, uncorrected copy)
"But cultivated gardens have their place, my lord," she said, ambling toward the eddy, a swirling, shadowed pool at the base of the waterfall. She stood on a humped hillock of moss and stared, admiring the sparkle of sunlight on the drops that scattered as a rivulet hit a rock. Mist billowed from the force of the falls and bedewed her cheeks. (from Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, p 215, uncorrected copy)
You can almost feel the tension that Lord Darkefell feels when he is around Lady Anne - and her optimism in the face of crises abounds. I really enjoyed Lady Anne and am glad that I will get to read more of her in the future. Donna Lea Simpson has two more books coming out with Lady Anne - Lady Anne and the Ghosts Revenge and Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse.
When Lady Anne Addisons fiance dies in the war with the American colonies, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Though rather plain, Lady Anne is smart and independent and finds that she much prefers her life as a single, wealthy spinster to a marriage foisted upon her by societys expectations.
She receives a troubling letter from her fiances sister, Lydia, in Yorkshire, who is a good friend. Lady Anne leaves London immediately and quickly makes her way to Lydias new home, since her recent marriage, Darkefell Castle. Unfortunately, scatterbrained Lydia has failed to have anyone meet Anne, or even tell them that she has invited her, and Anne ends up walking to the estate as evening falls.
Before she even reaches the house, she trips over the newly murdered body of a servant. Chaos ensues as she tries to explain her presence to Lydias in laws, including her brother-in-law, Anthony, the Marquess of Darkefell.
Anne is disturbed by her attraction to Anthony, who is darkly good looking and confident. But she is more intrigued by the mystery of the body and recent sightings in the area of a creature that sounds remarkably like a werewolf. She is compelled to investigate, incurring the displeasure of the family, the taciturn villagers, and of course, the Marquess.
I so enjoyed this mystery introducing Lady Anne. The author does a wonderful job of expressing the consternation of logical, serious Anne when she encounters the sizzle of passion for the first time in her life. Her feelings leave her bewildered and unsure, her practical mind has trouble reconciling with her wild emotions.
The ending leaves loose ends. While the mystery is successfully solved, the relationship with Anthony is not. There are two more Lady Anne mysteries that will be published this fall. Ill be tuning in to see what happens next!
I have to come right out and say that I do not used to consider myself a die-hard fan of romance novels. I did devour them when I was a teenager but then the real life happened and a happily-ever-after romance lost its appeal to me. I therefore approached Donna Lea Simpson’s Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark with a mixture of anxiety and skepticism. After reading it I can safely say that I am back on the bandwagon.
Lady Anne is visiting her lifelong friend Lydia at her husband’s family estate in 18th century Yorkshire. Anne arrives there upon Lydia’s strange and a bit frightening request. Apparently, there are rumors of a werewolf scavenging the lands of Darkfell Castle and Lydia’s fresh marriage to Lord John Darkfell gets slightly worrisome as well. After her arrival, Anne stumbles upon a vicious murder and realizes that her stay will be much more complicated than she bargained for. Especially that she has to deal with frustratingly stubborn Lord Darkfell, Lydia’s brother-in-law., who also happens to have an unfamiliar in its immensity pull on Anne.
I have to say that I really enjoyed Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark. It is a mixture of mystery, romance and historical fiction. Lady Anne is a feisty character, not easily overshadowed by others. She tends to be a little bit of a pest in her relentless search for the truth behind the murder, but Ms. Simpson makes sure that her heroine is a charming and funny pest that I couldn’t help but like.
The romance plot is surprisingly subtle. I appreciated the way Ms. Simpson engaged in developing this part of the story. There was nothing forceful or distasteful about it. Rather, the usual elements of romance like passion, attraction and finally love, smoothly and with ease find their way in to the forefront of the novel.
The best part of Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark in my opinion is the ‘whodunit’ plot. The investigation, the mystery and the air of suspense were presented with clear talent for writing mysteries on Donna Lea Simpson’s part. I was kept guessing to the very end, even though I tried my hardest to figure out who the murderer is.
This book is definitely a great read for the approaching summer. It is light and very entertaining, with a healthy dose of humor (which I think is very important) and an endearing heroine, with whom I think many women can easily identify.
Favorite quote: “One can never be more sure of sensible conversation than when one talks to oneself.”
Lady Anne receives a note from her dear friend Lydia, to come at once. Lydia fears that there is a werewolf running loose on the Darkefelle estate. Lady Anne makes the trip on the Royal Mail coach to get to Darkefelle estate quickly. The coach dumps Lady Anne in a little village quite a ways from the estate. She finally gets directions to Darkefelle from the mail ward and begins her walking journey. Of course it starts to rain. Then she stumbles upon a body …
Wow, what a good story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is filled with mystery and romance. I enjoyed the bickering between Lady Anne and Lord Darkefelle. You never knew how the other one was going to react towards the other. Lady Anne is a feisty gal, extremely smart and engaging. Not the time that Lord Darkefelle usually surrounds himself with.
The werewolf you ask? Now that’s another mystery. Pick up this great historical romance and find out.
I will admit that Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark by Donna Lea Simpson is not normally the kind of book I would pick up. The partially-shirted man on the cover would pretty much steer me away from choosing it. But in this case I would have missed out on a well-formed suspense story with only a touch of romance writing. This book has everything that a good cozy mystery needs a tower, a castle, a purported werewolf and a terrible mother-in-law all scary things!
Lady Anne is a Georgian spinster who is asked by her friend Lydia to come to her new married home and help her find out about the werewolf that has been scaring locals and killing sheep. Of course, Anne is a woman of reason and is sure there is something far less supernatural menacing the residents of this area of Yorkshire. Anne, upon arriving, literally stumbles across a fresh body and thus decides that her true purpose will be to find out who murdered this girl, Lydias maid. The only thing in her way is Lydias handsome brother-in-law, Lord Darkefell, who seems to be keeping secrets of his own.
This book was a fun read and I think it would be a great summer beach book. It was obviously written with a series in mind so I would be interested to see what direction Simpson takes with these characters.
Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark will be released by Sourcebooks in April.
I have a funny story with this book and by story I mean an epic fail. I was returning some books back to the library and somehow Lady Anne sneaked back with them. When I realized what I’d done it was as if I’d been amputated! So painful. Of course I returned the books on a Sunday; the only day in the week the library isn’t open until late in the afternoon or early in the day.
After a pretty good freak out, I waited until I could call. Ended hanging up once because I was on hold for five minutes and called back. Then I had to wait on the phone for twenty plus minutes before somebody from circulation got to me. They either forgot me or they were busy. I told them about the book and the person I talked with probably never got a call like this before because I was given a hard time.
Finally, I managed to convince them that the book was mine and not a library book. I don’t understand how this was so difficult as 1) it is not stamped with the library name nor was it 2) tagged with a detector strip or that pocket thing and 3) clearly says advance review copy on the cover! This is why I write in books to identify and claim them.
In the end they put the book on hold for me and now it was a matter of getting back over there. The library where I dropped the books off while on errands was all the way across town. I really didn’t make this easy on myself. Luckily I got there, but it was close! One more red light and it would have been better luck next time. Needless to say I was very, very pleased to get this book back and finish it… which I did later that night.
What I liked best about Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark was its tribute to Gothic romance, followed swiftly by a capable intelligent heroine. The hero liked that best about her too so how could you not fall in love with him? Lady Anne is very plain and a spinster to boot, which are some of my very favorite things to read in romance.
Simpson writes in a witty and engaging voice. I loved Lady Anne. She was such a treat. Her musings on Lord Darkefell are particularly fabulous:
It was either that or go back to pondering the feel of Lord Darkefell’s too-perfect lips pressed against hers. And his too-perfect body against hers. He was entirely too perfectif there was such a concept as overabundant perfectionin a physical sense and entirely too maddeningly imperfect in every other way.
Without giving anything else away I will say this: if you like mystery, intrigue, werewolves, and Gothic you will love this book! Oh and chances are you’re going to jump to conclusions about the mystery and be totally wrong - I was!
Rating: 3.5-4 Stars
First things first: Lady Anne And The Howl In The Dark contains a romantic component in the story, but this is first and foremost the first book in a historical mystery series featuring our amateur sleuth heroine Lady Anne Addison in the spotlight. The romance is not resolved by the last page - I believe we can all expect to see the romance develop over the course of several books in the series. Secondly, there is a paranormal element to the story, but I still cant help thinking that the paranormal element comes off more like a concession to the current fad rather than a vital aspect of this story.
So, we meet Anne. Shes a determined and intelligent heroine who at the start of the story takes the Royal Mail coach and valiantly endures the presence of fat people that for some reason always show up to share carriage space with our lovely heroine in every freaking romance novel that ever featured a public coach. You see, she had received a letter full of dire hysteria from her late fiancés sister Lydia about how the newly-married woman is having trouble in the homefront. While Anne knows that Lydia is prone to overreacting in any particularly distressing situation, Anne feels that this particular letter is more dire than Lydias usual drama-filled correspondences. Without much ado, and I suspect that this is because Anne doesnt have anything else to occupy her time, Anne sets off to Darkefell Castle.
Not only does Anne come across the dead body of a woman who later turns out to be Lydias maid in the wilderness on her way to Darkefell Castle, she soon arrives at the Castle to find herself in what seems like a loose sequel to The Hound of the Baskervilles. If a dead woman isnt bad enough, Anne soon realizes that there are plenty of talks about a werewolf running wild, killing sheep and scaring young ladies. Anne isnt sure whether she believes that such a creature exist. If you hear that the werewolf can stand on its hind legs and speak English, wouldnt you experience similar doubts? However, it soon becomes clear to Anne that someone or something is out there and, as the dead bodies begin to pile up, she is starting to suspect that Lydias in-laws may be hiding something. Who knows, maybe the handsome Marquess of Darkefell, the bachelor brother of Lydias husband and the boss of the family, has a few secrets of his own that may be related to the mysterious going-ons around the place.
Romance is not the main focus of this story, so you may be disappointed if you are expecting plenty of breathless moments between Anne and Darkefell. This story serves as a set-up for something to develop between those two. These two dont end up together by the last page, but its clear that there are plenty of unfinished business between them. Darkefell, at the very least, is not giving up on them yet.
As a mystery, well, Im pleased to report that this story is pretty intriguing. Ms Simpson has set up a well-drawn Gothic horror setting here, so the atmosphere is fantastic, what with it being chilling, mysterious, and menacing all at once. Anne is no Francesca Cahill, Im also happy to report. Shes not an idiot gasping breathlessly at the sight of a corpse with a bullet hole in the head, wondering to herself whether the dead fellow had been bludgeoned to death with a stick, like I remembered reading in that Francesca Cahill book that had me realizing that Id better quit that series before I ended up pulling out every hair on my head.
If anything, Anne comes off as too efficient here. Im not convinced that she is human. Shes more like Velma Dinkley and Nancy Drew all rolled into one, unfazed by any hint of danger. The sight of a mauled corpse makes her curious rather than nauseous. She rushes heedlessly into dangerous situations, excited because she believes that she is going to experience something really exciting. She interrogates suspects with all the subtlety of an elephant stampede. Sure, Anne is actually pretty smart here and Darkefell is fortunately always close enough to prevent Anne from doing something too foolhardy even for her, but I find myself wondering how a woman like Anne, who is a 22-year old woman who hadnt seen much outside her fathers estate until now, can turn out to be so educated, so curious, and so unfazed by danger.
Anne here is a pretty unusual heroine for any era, be it Regency historical or a distant planet in year 2098, so unless the author chooses to reveal in a later book that Anne is secretly trained in super ninja tricks learned from a guru somewhere in Tibet, I dont know how Anne turns out the way she is. Because I cant see Ann as anything more than a historical version of Velma Dinkley while poor Darkefall has limited point of view here, I find this story rather lacking in the human aspect. Which is to say, I dont feel for the characters or their developing relationship. Im more interested in finding out how the whole mystery thing, which gets increasingly complicated as the story progresses, gets wrapped up. While Im disappointed that the villain turns out to be the most obvious suspect in the cast, getting to the revelation is actually pretty good as Ms Simpson handles the mystery pretty well.
Do I want to read the next book in the series? Lady Anne And The Howl In The Dark has me convinced that the series may just be interesting so if I do manage to get my hands on the next book, yeah, I may just want to take a look at it. But this is because the book a pretty interesting historical mystery rather than a romance. If you want to read this book, Id suggest you adjust your expectations accordingly first. You do not want to read this solely for the romance, thats for sure.
When Lady Lydia Bestwick sends for her friend, Lady Anne Adison, Anne goes immediately. Because Lydia seems upset and fearful about the happenings at her new home and wants Anne to determine if the werewolf rumors are true, Anne feels that she must get to her friends side quickly. After her arrival in Yorkshire, Anne is faced with many mysterious, eccentric characters. Among these characters is Lydias brother-in-law, the Marquess of Darkefell, who is darkly attractive, but does he have something to hide?
LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK is gothic in nature, instead of being a true paranormal. With that said, this story has a great spooky atmosphere and unique characters. Although it is not the usual romance story, it has great romantic elements and quite a good mystery. Lady Anne is very eccentric for her times she goes her own way and refuses to consider marriage. Darkefell has a rude awakening, when the very intelligent and determined Lady Anne refuses to obey his edicts and gets in very deep with her investigations of all the strange happenings. Darkefell finds himself greatly annoyed but strangely attracted to Anne. Used to being the master of all he surveys, Darkefell is thrown off by Lady Anne and doesnt know whether to kiss her or lock her in her room.
While this story has several kissing scenes, it doesnt go any farther as far as sexual content is concerned. There is some violence in the story, but I would consider it a very acceptable read for teens. All in all, LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK is a very enjoyable read, and I cant wait for the sequels.
Reviewed by Marlene Breakfield
Posted March 29, 2009
Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark by Donna Lea Simpson is a historical romance with a touch of mystery and maybe a hint of the paranormal. It was a light and delightful read for me; just what I needed. It takes place in 1786 England in the Georgian Era and it was fun learning more about this time period as Ive never read a lot on it before.
The story begins with Lady Anne receiving a desperate letter from her friend Lydia, claiming werewolf sightings, which prompts Lady Anne to immediately travel to Darkefell Castle in Yorkshire. She arrives at the post station only to find that there is no one to meet her and the fellow there will not help her once he hears where she is headed. Lady Anne, being no regular girl of the times, picks up her skirts and proceeds to head out in the direction of the Castle, walking. Now Lady Anne isnt prone to being frightened but it is dark and it is creepy and wouldnt you know it, she hears this howling and a woman screaming. She starts searching and unfortunately she finds the victim of the screaming and shes dead.
Lady Anne makes it to the Castle and alerts everyone as to what shes found. She doesnt exactly receive a warm welcome at the Castle and that only serves to infuriate her further. Lady Anne has no problem voicing her opinions even when not asked. I simply adored her. Much to the chagrin of the Marquess, Lord Darkefell, Lady Anne takes it upon herself to begin her own investigation into who murdered Lydias ladys maid, Cecilia. Just picture Lady Anne; now shes a plain girl by description but intelligent and inquisitive; in short, she can be a bit of a pain in the butt when shes got her sights set on finding something out. She has questions upon questions and isnt shy of asking them, even of the scary Lord Darkefell and she certainly couldnt care less whos feathers she ruffles in the process.
Lady Anne was such a likeable character for me. I admired her spunk in a time when women just didnt seem to have any. She wasnt scared to voice an opinion or go out and investigate and get scratched up and dirty in the process. Lord Darkefell, who managed to intimidate everyone else just couldnt seem to manage to succeed in that regard with Lady Anne and it frustrated him to no end, yet also made her quite attractive to him. They share a few heated moments but Lady Anne wonders if it isnt just because he wants to shut her up and is using her attraction to him to do it. Hmmmm, what will happen with this romance~will it finally blossom or wither? Will the mystery be solved or will the two, Lady Anne and Lord Darkefell murder each other in the process?
I also enjoyed the author, Donna Lea Simpsons writing style. It flowed really well and I found the humor to be delightful. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times at the antics of Lady Anne. Also, I loved her descriptions of the countryside throughout the novel. At times, I felt I could actually see it, so vivid were her descriptions. A few descriptions I liked were...
* Then, as she circled the tower room, in the distance, on a prominence, was the castle. She took in a long, deep breath. It was gothic and enchanting, the old castle keep and stone wall that disappeared into the hillside, then the more modern attached building, glass gleaming in the rising sun, glittering panes like diamonds, winking and blinking. (pg 113, Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, uncorrected proof, final printed copy may differ)
* The bank was mossy and verdant, with a slender creeping vine that blossomed, opening trusting flower faces to the sunlight that filtered through the newly green branches of languorous willows. (pg 214, Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, uncorrected proof, final printed copy may differ)
I really enjoyed the story for the mystery, touch of romance and definitely the spunk of Lady Anne and the mysterious darkness of Lord Darkefell. The best thing is that this is the first novel in a trilogy. Still to come is Lady Anne and the Ghosts Revenge and then Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse. I cant wait to read more of Lady Annes adventures.
Lady Anne Adison, daughter of an Earl, travels to Yorkshire at the behest of her friend, Lady Lydia Bestwick. Lydia has written Anne for aid in discovering the truth about a werewolf terrorizing the area. Because of the fear that is tangible in Lydias missive, Anne leaves immediately. Upon her arrival, Anne meets some mysterious acting peoplethe main one being the dark, attractive, Marquess of Darkefell, Lydias brother-in-law.
Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark is a gothic, historical, mystery with a lot of romance and wonderful characters. Ms. Simpson pulls off the creepy, spine-tingling thrill of the gothic with great flare and keeps the reader on her toes with a very intriguing mystery. When this reader thinks of Lady Anne, a picture of Katherine Hepburn pops into my head. Lady Anne is plain but has an inner quality, which shines through. Lady Anne is a woman ahead of her time very independent and willing to go against conventions. She doesnt wish to marry, because women of her are considered chattel and subject to their husbands whims. Darkefell meets his match in Anne, who stymies him at every turn and refuses to be intimidated. His intellectual equal, Anne forces Darkefell to re-evaluate his feelings and change the way he treats her. The story ended in an unexpected way, and I look forward to the sequel.
Lady Anne Addison rushes north to Yorkshire in response to her friend Lydias hysterical letter. She is worried about her marriage and the rumors of a werewolf in the area of Ivy Lodge and Darkfell Castle. She arrives in the evening with no one to meet her and is forced to walk to her friends home. On the way she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been savagely murdered. Left to her own devices by her self involved friend, Anne is determined to solve the murder before she leaves Yorkshire, with or without the help of Lydias handsome brother in law, the Marquess of Darkfell.
This story combines the best parts of a mystery and historical romance in one story. Lady Anne is not a beautiful woman but is intelligent and has lots of common sense. Lord Darkfell also senses a passion in her that belies her plain appearance. They are an odd couple, but oddly suited to each other as well. Anne has great confidence in herself in all areas but her looks and can not figure out why Darkfell keeps kissing her and why it affects her so strongly. The mystery is as involving as the romance and the solution is not as easy as it seems at first. The rather abrupt ending leaves an opening for more adventures for Lady Anne and Lord Darkfell and I will be reading every one of them.
Overall rating: 4.5/5 hearts
Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual
Reviewer: Maura Frankman
The letter from her best friend Lady Lydia Bestwick seemed hysterical to sensible Lady Anne Addison. However, concerned about her buddy’s mad rant regarding werewolf sightings, Anne travels to Darkefeel Castle in Yorkshire to prove her wrong and bring some peace of mind to Lydia.
Forced to go on foot to complete her trek to the remote castle, Anne hears the scream of a woman in the dark gloomy woods before stumbling upon a corpse. As she investigates the homicide she tripped over and the alleged werewolf sightings sworn to God by the villagers and employees of the castle, Anne realizes the evidence points towards the only uncooperative person in the vicinity, Lydia’s recalcitrant brother-in-law the Marquess of Darkefell. As Anne finds indications of a poorly developed frame with ties to the bustling slave trade, the Marquess makes it clear he wants her in spite of his objection to her independence and courage.
This is a fabulous historical amateur sleuth that introduces readers to a terrific Georgian Era gender bending detective. The story line contains three wonderful subplots that tie together with a Moebius Knot twist: romance, investigation including into potentially paranormal and the profound look at the slave trade with its biblical “Curse of Ham” misinterpretation rationalization. With a nod to The Hound of the Baskervilles albeit a century plus earlier, Donna Lea Simpson’s first Lady Anne eighteenth century mystery is a howling success.
Lady Anne Addison, an independently wealthy spinster, rushes to help her friend Lydia figure out what is going wrong in her new home. There are reports of werewolf sightings, and Lydia is frightened. Upon Lady Anne’s arrival, she hears a scream and stumbles over the body of Lydia’s maid. A murder is not the product of Lydia’s overactive imagination; something is really wrong. The Marquess of Darkefell, Lydia’s brother-in-law, seems determined to keep Lady Anne from solving the mystery. Is the Marquess hiding something? Could he be responsible for the murder? Why does he seem inclined to kiss her when she asks questions he doesn’t want to answer?
If you love gothic romances, you will find Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark very entertaining. Not many current authors are tackling the gothic genre, and I love to find a well done gothic romance like this one! Lady Anne is an intelligent and lively character you can’t help but like. The Marquess is a gorgeous man but brooding and secretive. As Lady Anne finds more and more information about disturbing things that have been happening around her friend’s home, she becomes more determined to solve the mystery despite any attempts by the Marquess to distract her. The story is filled with suspense, dark mysteries, romance, and a very creative solution to the mystery. No one seems to know if there is or is not a werewolf, but they are seeing something, and this tease of paranormal is a spooky yet fun element! I was not satisfied with the very end of the story, but it does leave it wide open for a sequel, and a sequel that ties up the lose ends would appease me! If you are looking for a historical mystery with romance, suspense, and a suggestion of paranormal, then read Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark.
When a letter from her dear friend reaches Lady Anne Addison that a werewolf prowls the grounds of Darkefell Castle she can scarcely believe it. Though her friend has been known to have a flair for the dramatic the fear in her letter compels Anne to reach Darkefell as quickly as possible only to find things are far worse than she imagined.
A murder has taken place and Anne has been thrust into the middle of it. With no help from her friend itʼs up to Anne to solve the mystery surrounding the castle and its inhabitants. Yet, in order to get to the bottom of long held family secrets Anne will have to rely on the one man in control: The Marquess. A man so deeply, perfectly, handsome Anne can barely think straight in his presence.
LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK has all the eerie delights fans of gothic romance hope for! I loved everything about this book from the spooky yet awe-inspiring setting to the characters it contained. What else can I say other than Donna Lea Simpson is like Victoria Holt but with twice the impact!
Simpson (Awaiting the Moon) launches her Lady Anne historical mystery series with flair, though at times its daring heroine seems more Victorian than Georgian. Lady Anne Addison, a clever, capable bluestocking, arrives at Darkefell Castle after receiving a distress-filled missive from her flighty best friend, Lady Lydia Bestwick, about werewolf sightings. Walking the last few miles to the castle, Anne hears screams and discovers a dead woman along the way. Lydias concerns extend beyond the paranormal, and soon Anne becomes embroiled in gothic goings-on that clumsily point to the overbearing marquess of Darkefell, Lydias brother-in-law, who aggressively pursues Anne despite disliking her independent nature. A slave trade subplot works well, and romance fans will love the witty byplay if not the decidedly unromantic conclusion. (Apr.)
AuthorName: Donna Lea Simpson
BookTitle1: Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark
PubDate: April 2009
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
TopPick: Top Pick Addition
NovelThoughtComments: LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK was a lot different from what I expected originally. For one thing, for a romance novel there was very little romantic scenes. This isnt a criticism, but a compliment to the story. The mystery within the novel kept me so entranced, that the few scenes of romance between Lady Anne and her (mostly) reluctant suitor Lord Darkefell I read with impatience. Thankfully, Lady Anne is not the sort to fall into melodramatics just because she has been kissed by an attractive manshe stubbornly stuck to the point.
The mystery that surrounds the Darkefell family isnt a new one; young girls seem to frequently die within their lands for suspicious reasons. Unfortunately the other girls death sometimes weighed down the story, as they had happened years before the book takes place and seem to have little bearing on the current murder of Cecilia. Lady Anne, however, is determined to right every single wrong she gets a whiff of, so often her interest from the murder of Cecilia will get lost in her interest in one of the older murders.
Another underlying topic that is discussed is that of slave-trading in England. Lord Darkefells secretary, Osei Boatin, is a former slave that the Marquess rescued years before. He educated Osei and treats him as family. Despite this, Osei is often met with disdain and distrust by the people he meets because of his skin color. Several villagers make racist comments and are ready to condemn him for Cecilias murder because of it. Simpson makes it a point to have Osei describe his experience and feelings, having him explain that in his country his family kept slaves as well. Such social concern is rarely apparent in historical romance novels, especially depicting the slave trade and Englands history in it.
The book is, according to Simpsons blog, part of a trilogy with LADY ANNE AND THE GHOSTS REVENGE and LADY ANNE AND THE GYPSY CURSE both being published in 2009, which is just as well since I enjoyed Lady Anne immensely and cannot wait to read more of her adventures.
Length: 6.875 in
Width: 4.1875 in
Weight: 7.00 oz
Page Count: 416 pages