Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Review: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

The Lady Society of Lady Scoundrels
(Dangerous Damsels #1)
India Holton
Release: June 15, 2021
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A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She's also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it's a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he's under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her--hopefully proving, once and for all, that she's as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

This book was absolutely bonkers in the best way! I'm not sure what rock I was hiding under but I really thought this was a pure historical romance book and not a fantasy book. But I am not mad that it didn't turn out as I thought.

I will say that it took me a while to get my head into the way the story was narrated but once I was able to immerse myself I didn't look back. I'm not sure how to describe what goes on in this book. At-a-glance, this book is a romance, an adventure, and a tiny bit steampunk with a dash of the piratical all rolled into one hilarious romp! I don't want to say too much because I think this is one of those books that you want to go into a bit blind. I will say that this story is chock full of so many great things that I would have never of thought to put together! Pirates with flying houses! Scoundrels! Assassins! SO many shenanigans! Proper Victorian ladies! Enemies-to-lovers! A master of disguise! Complex family relationships! The literary references and subsequent roasting of said literature! So many book references! It was kind of amazing, to be honest.

I especially loved the flying houses and the weird camaraderie and competition found between members of the Wisteria Society! I had a difficult time at first keeping the characters straight. And I will admit I had a hard time relating to the heroine, Cecilia, at first but I grew to love her by the end of the book. I will say I loved Ned and his friend, Alex, from the moment they appeared on page. 

This alternate version of England with magic and battle houses made me grin from ear to ear. I can't wait to read more books by this author! I am especially looking forward to the next book in this series which will star a certain Irish pirate!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  4 / 5 Stars

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