The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton – Review

Published: June 15, 2021

Publisher: Berkley Books

Series: Dangerous Damsels #1

Genre: Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 324 (Paperback)

My Rating: 3.0/5.0

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 the world, intends 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.

I’ve had my eye on this book since it was originally released last year. Promising a fun romantic story full of lady thieves, pirates, and assassination attempts all whilst cavorting about the skies in flying houses, The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels sounded like a proper good time. And it was fun! Just perhaps not as fun as I had hope.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is a lady thief, hoping to be recognized by the rest of her society as a full-fledged member but alas, her parentage stands in the way. You see, her father is a dastardly, gothic pirate in a massive flying castle and he’s infamous. He killed Cecilia’s mother and quite frankly, the society fears that Cecilia may have inherited his dastardly traits. He’s quite determined to have his wayward daughter back home and sends kidnapper and sometimes assassin Ned Lightbourne after her. The two meet and after trading violence and witty quips, it’s clear they are attracted to one another. So we spend the next several hundred pages waiting on them to finally admit it and run away together.

I think this was just a little too over-the-top ridiculous for my tastes, though I do love humor and a good romance plot. I found myself wishing the pace would move along more quickly because it seemed to stall out at times. Too much dithering! Not enough stabbing and kissing! I also felt like it just tried too hard to be quirky and fun. I feel horrendously judgmental and negative saying all this because I did have fun with it but I think it would have worked better for me in print format versus audio because I can zoom right through a book like this in print. The audio format just made it drag out a little too much! Overall, it was fun and quirky, but perhaps it wasn’t the correct book for me at the time.

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