The Dark Affair: A Mad Passion Novel

Written by Máire Claremont
Review by Jeanne Greene

The use of opium is neither illegal nor uncommon in London in 1866 when Lord James Stanhope, bereft by the loss of his wife, becomes addicted. James’ father hires an experienced nurse, Lady Margaret Cassidy, to cure him – and, perhaps, to win James’ love. The Earl wants an heir. To protect herself, Margaret makes a contract with his father. Attraction grows; trust falters. Neither James nor Margaret can be forthcoming about the past. When James regains his senses, the two agree to marry – but for reasons that have little to do with love. There are painful revelations ahead before the curtain drops on (what may or may not be) a happy ending for both. One of a series (after A Lady Undone, 2014), The Dark Affair refers to one of the dark secrets in Victorian England: opium use. There is sex and suffering but, happily, less titillation than touching romance. Those who do not take the “mad passion” label too seriously will find the author’s well-written plot and interesting characters enjoyable.