Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: June 15th, 2021
Synopsis: 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 entire world, intend 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. (Goodreads)
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is a fabulously fun historical fantasy that definitely delivers on its eye-catching cover, and it thoroughly captivated me from beginning to end. Cecilia is a bibliophile after my own heart. She’s also a first rate scoundrel and lady pirate, out to prove herself to the rest of the Wisteria Society. To say that I loved her, doesn’t quite describe my feelings. While I’m not usually a fan of insta-romance, it’s obvious from the first scene where Ned is attempting to assassinate(?) her, that Cecilia and Ned are destined for one another. Their banter is rapier sharp, and I greatly enjoyed their witty repartee. The secondary characters are equally enjoyable, even the cartoonish, Bronte-obsessed, Captain Morvath, and the plot, well, this is just something you have to experience for yourself. Let’s just say the The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is utterly bonkers in the very best possible way. It’s so imaginative and original that it’s difficult to come up with a comparison, but if I were to do so I’d say think The Princess Bride, meets Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. As whimsically wacky as her debut is, I want to seriously predict that India Holton is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the literary world. If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud historical fantasy with plenty of derring do over tea and crumpets, and swoon-worthy romance, I can’t recommend this enough!