Icarus Reid is all the tormented hero that one could want. A battle scarred, dedicated officer searching for truth and justice. If you remember Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted and he fell. Icarus Reid was certainly burnt--not by the sun (although he was an important satellite of General Wellesley), but by betrayal at the Battle of Vimeiro. A betrayal that caused incredible trauma for him. All Icarus lives for is to find the traitor.
Enter Letitia Trentham, an heiress who has the magical gift (yes true! compliments of a faerie godmother) of detecting when she is being lied to. Those who lie to her are perceived as a loud clanging bell. Unfortunately for Letty those clangers have been heard over the years by suitors seeking her fortune, not herself. Letty is becoming reconciled to a lonely life doing good works.
Somehow Icarus learns that Letty seems able to detect the truth from lies. Icarus wants Letty to assist him in his quest.
And here is where the story digresses from the norm. Letty agrees, which means as Larkin says the reader is taken, 'on a journey from the glittering ballrooms of the aristocracy to the dark underbelly of Regency England – with passion, danger, adventure, romance, and a little magic thrown into the mix.'
Letty joins Icarus in his search. Along with Letty the reader is treated to a 'darker, grittier side of the romance fence.'
Larkin refers to this writing as Regency Noir.
Author Gail Ranstrom (kiss and thrill: https://kissandthrill.com/tag/regency-noir/ ) puts it this way, 'Traditional Regfencies are shorter, sweeter and more about life, customs, manners and courtship in ‘polite’ society from roughly 1800 to 1820. Most often the plot revolves around misunderstandings and very sweet romances—the bedroom door is closed very tight. Regency Noir, or dark Regencies, deal with the grittier side of the Regency period—the side that was rarely spoken of or acknowledged in ‘polite’ society. The ‘real life’ that played out in the shadows. My stories deal with mystery, suspense and romance about people who walk the fine line between these two worlds. Occasionally polite, rarely sweet, and always dangerous'.
These descriptions certainly fits a number of Regency novels I've been reading over the past couple of years. I find the term apt.
There are some quite wonderful secondary characters that add to the story.
I rather enjoyed Letty and Icarus' story.
A NetGalley ARC