Review: Lady in Red

Title: Lady In Red (Mad Passions #2)
Author: Maire Claremont
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Published: October 1, 2013
Ebook, ARC
ISBN-13: 9781101609347
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:
The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

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?

My thoughts:
*This book contains some material that might be disturbing to some*

Lady in Red by Marie Clarmont tells the story of a courageous woman in the Victorian era who escaped her brutal captors and dared for not only a better life but also revenge. Mary was put into an insane asylum after her mother dies by her father. He claims it's because he's afraid she'll turn out like her 'whore' mother. While at the asylum, Mary endures terrible cruelty and sexual assault. She escapes with one thought--revenge.

Mary goes to the one person she can trust, her mother's dear friend. However she can't stay with her for long. So she arranges for Mary to stay with the Duke of Fairleigh, Edward Barrons. In exchange for his protection, she'll become his mistress.

From the moment that Edward meets Mary, he's drown to her. He can't get her out of his mind. He knows she's been through something terrible. He also knows who she really is--the daughter of a duke. But he vows to keep her safe no matter what. And in saving her, he might save himself. 

This book can act like a standalone for those who have not read the first book in the series. I suspect some of the  characters from this book make an appearance in that book as well. However, there's nothing that will confuse as to the story line. I did like this story line as well as Mary. Mary undergoes some heinous events. So much so, she'll probably be scarred for life if she were an actual person. However I did appreciate that Claremont didn't give the heroine a quick recovery. Mary was damaged physically and mentally and those wounds take longer to heal. In this story, Mary struggles with her past, trust, and dealing with the future. She finds comfort in learning how to defend herself. It empowers her, and with it, she's able to battle some of her demons. She comes to care for Edward, but she's still standoffish. I like that there were walls that she had to break down to deal with her past. I wouldn't have liked this book any other way. 

Edward was a different story. Overall I liked his character, but I thought he was a little too broodish for me. He had demons in his past that haunted him, and felt responsible for things that were out of his control. His situation was understandable, but he blamed himself for other's mistakes. He's a charming character with a big, gentle heart. Also he's very stubborn. Together they make a great pair. They help each other learn to live again. Overall this is a good book. As I pointed out it does deal with sensitive issues, so this book won't be for everybody. 

My rating:

Other books in the series:
The Dark Lady