Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Series or Standalone:Dangerous Damsels #2
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads – StoryGraph
CW: Child abuse; emotional abuse; violence; fire
I absolutely adored the unique writing style of India Holton in The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels and could not wait to start book two in the Dangerous Damsels series! This book was bonkers, chaotic, over-the-top, and so, so, so much fun. I didn’t think it was possible, but I loved it even more than book one, as the romance really shines in this!
Miss Charlotte Pettifer is a witch and the prophesied next leader of the League of Gentlewomen Witches – a league that strives to improve the world in small ways by using magic to tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper. They use the magic in subtle ways, not like the pirates in the Wisteria Society. When the long-lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it’s up to Charlotte to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands (i.e., pirate hands). Unfortunately, she keeps crossing paths with Alex O’Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy and harbors a bit of a grudge against Charlotte after stealing his briefcase. When the amulet mistakenly ends up in the wrong hands, Alex and Charlotte need to join forces to steal it back, though they cannot stop stealing from each other, including stealing each other’s hearts.
You need to read this book series in order as each builds on the other, so I highly recommend checking out The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels before you read The League of Gentlewomen Witches. If you read out of order, I think you’ll be very confused by the rules of the world and the backstory of many characters.
The writing style of this book follows the same vein as The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, which I absolutely adored. Holton has such a unique voice, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I love how tongue-in-cheek and self-aware the writing is – I constantly found myself laughing at little quips here and there and had the biggest grin on my face the whole time while reading. The book never takes itself too seriously, so the over-the-top nature of the story works perfectly!
I absolutely adore every single character in this book. From our main characters down to the smallest bit players, each character has their own distinct personality and quirks. I seriously think I adored every character we met, even the villainous ones, as they’re so fun to read about!
Speaking of characters, Charlotte and Alex are at the center of this story, and I adored both of them so much. Holton shared that she wrote Charlotte to be neurodivergent, and I definitely picked up on that while reading. I loved her unique view of the world – particularly her love of Jane Austen. It was also really great to see her come into her own and push off the expectations others had for her as she went on a wild journey with Alex. And Alex was so perfect for her! I loved how he adored her quirks. He’s very much a loveable rogue with a bit of a tragic past, but the two balanced each other out so perfectly.
And, oh my god, the romance in this! I was LIVING for it. I enjoyed the romance in book one, but Holton knocked it out of the park with this one. First off – the BANTER. I cannot tell you how often I was squeeing out of pure joy watching Alex and Charlotte go head-to-head with each other. The verbal sparing, coupled with physical and magical sparing, led to some truly romantic and sexy moments. You get enemies-to-lovers as pirates and witches do not mix with literal knife-to-throat moments. And the CHEMISTRY! My goodness, the chemistry was bursting off the pages. And yes, this is open door with more than one sex scene, which I found sexier than the scenes in book one.
I also love how Holton subverted common romantic tropes in fun ways throughout the story. My favorite was her spin on the ever-popular “only one-bed trope,” as she made that her own in a memorable way. This book knows it’s a romance and leans into that in the best possible way. There is even some breaking of the fourth wall regarding the romance, which I thought worked incredibly well here.
When it comes to the plot, it is a bit all over the place – and I mean that as they go all over the place! So much happens in this book, and I’m amazed at how much Holton crammed into it with the action, adventure, and romance. I loved the adventure as you truly go on a RIDE with Alex and Charlotte in their quest to retrieve Black Beryl’s amulet with lots of twists and turns. Things felt a tad chaotic sometimes, but it worked with the story’s pace and added to the overall vibe, so I had no problem with it.
As I said in my review for The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, India Holton has such a fresh voice. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this before, and I don’t know if I ever will, as the style is so unique to Holton!
I’m now anxiously awaiting the final book in the series, The Secret Service of Tea and Treason, which comes out later this month. I loved the scenes we got with the protagonists of the next book and cannot wait to see how the series wraps up! I highly recommend picking up this series now in preparation for the final book, as I think you’ll have a rip-roaring fun time reading it!