I received a copy of Lady In Red from the author herself via a Twitter giveaway, and what a delight! Maire Claremont has created one of my most favorite things: the kind of book that can sweep you away.
I am a hardcore historical fiction lover, and when you toss a great romance in there it just gets that much better. It had been a very long time since I last read one and I was both excited and nervous about whether I could get into it again or not – but I need not have worried. This was the book to bring me back.
This story was an exquisite blend of intrigue and answers. I never felt as though I knew what was happenings beyond a hint of a thread, but I also didn’t feel lost. This is a hard balance to achieve, so I was won over by that alone. But if that hadn’t been enough, there is so much more to love – for one, the characters.
Lady Mary is an outstanding character. She’s afraid, but strong and willing to defend herself. She did what she had to both to survive and to rise above, and yet she is tender and vulnerable still. She’s human in her suffering, not a doormat but not such a fighter that she doesn’t make wise choices. What she sacrifices broke my heart, and I was completely on her side. Edward is the perfect counterpart for her passion, desire and bravery. He’s tormented, but not so much that he can’t seem to climb out of his past and move on with his life. His desire to help Mary is completely plausible, and marred by his own humanity in a true-to-life way. Plus, he’s super attractive, so…
There’s no shortage of romance here, but Lady in Red doesn’t shy away from the dark side of life. Difficult subjects are dealt with in a straightforward manner, without brushing over them or making them “literary.” As the truth of Lady Mary’s past and presence unfolds, it becomes painfully clear that the tragedy of her life is just as true now as it was then, and her story could be the story of a woman today. With this blend of truthfulness, heartbreak, courage, and love, Lady in Red was a glorious read to get lost in.
Go ye forth and read it, my friends.