Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark

by Donna Simpson

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Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark by Donna Simpson

A fascinating and exasperating young lady…
The Marquess of Darkefell has enough to worry about with a bloodthirsty wild beast rampaging the countryside and sinister family secrets to protect. Then Lady Anne Addison arrives, with unquenchable curiosity and intelligence that drive him to distraction…

An infuriatingly unyielding man…
Lady Anne finds the marquess darkly handsome, seductive, and forceful, with a ruthless magnetism that challenges and stimulates her. But he seems determined to keep secrets that may threaten both herself and her helpless friend…

Thrown together in a time of crisis, with a murderer on the loose, the marquess picks an absolutely dreadful moment and the worst possible way to declare his intentions…


"Donna Lea Simpson is absolutely brilliant."
Fresh Fiction

"Impossible-to-put-down romance with just the right touch of the ominous, the perfect amount of suspense, and plenty of sexual tension to keep you reading late into the night and finish satiated."
Romantic Times

"Simpson excels at imbuing her realistic characters with subtle depths…"
John Charles, American Library Association

"…a treat for lovers of gothic romance…"
"There's a natural progression here from the traditional gothic of eerie occurrences with rational explanations to a true paranormal twist, and Simpson keeps the sultry sensuality at a strong simmer."
Nina Davis, Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402217913
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Pages: 410
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Donna Simpson is a nationally bestselling romance and mystery novelist with over twenty titles published in the last ten years and over 400,000 copies sold. Donna believes that a dash of mystery adds piquancy to a romantic tale, and a hint of romance adds humanity to a mystery story. Donna lives in Toronto, Canada.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One

What was it about Lydia's letter that worried Anne so deeply?

Lady Anne Addison clung to a handle on the interior wall of the Royal Mail coach as they jounced along a Yorkshire highway in the fading twilight, and thought about the letter that had sent her scurrying north. Lady John Bestwick—Miss Lydia Moore before marriage to Lord John Bestwick, younger brother of the Marquess of Darkefell—was desperately unhappy. As charming as Lord John had been prior to their marriage four months before, now he was horrible and left her alone for hours with her mother-in-law, who despised her, Lydia claimed in her latest letter to Anne. She hinted at worse; her husband had faults she hadn't known of when she said her vows. Anne wondered what those faults could be. She feared the worst, abuse or perversion, and would let her dear friend Lydia, who hadn't sufficient strength of character to assert her own will, suffer from neither.

With a long knowledge of Lydia's tendency to dramatize herself and her sufferings, (Anne had once been engaged to Lydia's beloved brother, though poor Reginald had died in a military engagement), Anne would not necessarily have given credence to those afflictions, but something in the letter made her uneasy. It was, she thought, something between the words… something underlying the sentences. Lydia truly was desperately afraid, but it was impossible to discover the source of her fear without direct questioning, which could not be done by letter.

Still, Anne would have used her own carriage and driver, a slower but more comfortable way to travel all the way to Yorkshire, but for Lydia's horrified assertion that a werewolf haunted the Darkefell estate grounds at night. During the full moon, the beast had been witnessed standing on two legs and speaking English.

Utter tripe, Anne reflected, primming her mouth and staring out through the carriage window at the wild, rocky landscape. Fairy tales told to frighten little children into behaving. But still… she was intrigued, the fantastical tale slicing through the tedium of days that had become a little humdrum of late.

The full moon was just days away. The letter had been bleak and despairing enough that Anne had set out immediately, committing her safety, if not her comfort, to the Royal Mail. So she hurtled along this northern road using the latest madness in travel, the swift but jarring Royal Mail run. Fast it was—she had left London only the day before at four in the afternoon, and already she was in Yorkshire—but exceedingly uncomfortable, too.

The slanting rays of sunset poured through the glass and directly into her eyes as they bumped over every rut in the indifferent road. Wedged in by her seat companion, an enormous, snoring woman, she could not reach over to draw the curtain. Ill with fatigue and trying to quell her nausea, Anne took a deep breath and regretted it immediately. The snoring woman reeked of heavy perfume, the stinking scent battling the fetid aroma of body dirt, the flatulent eruptions from the sleeping gentleman opposite her, and the stench of sour milk from the slumbering child next to him.

They could not arrive at Staunby, her destination, quickly enough for her. Her maid, Mary, and her trunks would follow, but she would be on the scene, at least, before the full moon.

The clarion call of the post horn indicated either an inn or a tollgate was imminent; Anne fervently prayed it was the post-house at Staunby. It was, and with blinding swiftness, Lady Anne and her portmanteaux were deposited with less consideration than the bag of mail, to stand bewildered and disoriented near the post-house door.

"I beg your pardon," she said politely to the rotund little fellow who was lugging the heavy canvas mail bag toward the post-house. "Is there a carriage to meet me?"

"Carriage, miss?" the postal employee absently asked, blinking at her and scratching his behind. The post-house was a small cottage just a few yards from him, within ames ace; the interior, visible through the open door, was warmly lit with inviting lamplight. He shrugged, then turned away and continued pulling.

"My name is Lady Anne Addison," Anne said through gritted teeth, following him, "and I believe my friend, Lady John Bestwick, has arranged transport for me to Darkefell Castle. Where is my carriage?"

"Darkefell Castle?" With a swift burst of strength, he hauled the mailbag up over his shoulder and scuttled into the post-house, slamming the door shut. There followed the unmistakable sound of the bolt being shot.

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Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very long boring not much of a story, set in a unreal setting. poor characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second time ive read this book and i really enjoy her books . I am ready to start the sencond and third book in the Ann mysteries ! Cant wait , the second book is set in cornwell n very ghostly, so i hear ........
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LHedgpeth More than 1 year ago
"Lady Anne" was my introduction to Donna Lea Simpson and I was not disappointed. I admit that I was attracted to the book initially due to the cover, which has just enough historical mood, darkness and a bare man's chest to spur my desire. Reading the plot sealed the deal for me. How to describe "Lady Anne"? It's gothic, in the same vein as Daphne DuMaurier and Victoria Holt. It's historical in the same vein as Philippa Gregory. It's a romance for the thinking and discriminating reader. It has a taste of the paranormal that reminds me a bit of Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey". And it has a neat little mystery to wrap up into a pleasing literary gift. One of the things I loved best about this book was the central character of Lady Anne Addison. She is certainly no frail flower of the time (England of 1786), fainting and keeping to women's interests (sewing or having children). She is more like a man of that time period - - curious, inquisitive, willful, bold and determined to remain unmarried. I also felt a connection with the character of Boatin, Darkefell's secretary and his story of how he came to England from Africa. Here was a man who was well-read, if not superiorly educated, who was fiercely loyal to his employer, while still recognizing his faults, and who treated Anne as both a lady and as an equal. In fact, I felt somewhat more of a connection with Boatin than I did with Darkefell - - although Darkefell is quite reminiscent of Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, with his perceived arrogance and hidden sensitive nature. Another wonderful thing about this book are the luscious details of the 18th century - - the attire, the headwear, the castles and estates - - which will cause readers of historical fiction to devour this tale. Boatin's tale, as mentioned above, is an accurate recounting of true events, giving even more depth to Ms. Simpson's story and characters. The only downside to this book, in my own opinion, is the somewhat unresolved ending . . . which makes perfect sense if you realize "Lady Anne" is the first of a new three-part series. The ending leaves this reader, at least, wanting more and anxious to see where Lady Anne's travels take her next and what part the mysterious and moody Darkefell will play in her life in the future. I recommend "Lady Anne" without reservation, if you're a fan of gothic, historical, paranormal romance.
martakay1962 More than 1 year ago
What a great combination romance and mystery! The Marquess of Darkefell has no idea what he's in for when the spunky Lady Anne shows up on his doorstep one dark rainy eve, covered with blood and demanding answers. Summoned by her friend, Lady Anne refuses to back down to the Marquess, even when he tries using his kisses to distract her. The dialogue is witty and you won't know whether to cheer Anne on or shake your head as she plunges into one thing after another. I found myself chuckling as she got caught snooping on more than one occasion. This book is definitely something worth adding to your library. Even more exciting is that there are two more Lady Anne books coming out continuing the romance and adventure between these two.
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
Lady Anne is not the typical "lady" of the late 1700's. She tried to be the hair-brained, I-need-a-husband lass, but when her fiance dies, it is a blessing for her. Having been left a considerable amount of money by her paternal grandmother, she decides she would rather be single and not have to hide her intelligence and quick wit. Not being a beauty, she doesn't have to worry about fending off any would-be suitors. When Lydia, a dear friend and her deceased fiance's sister, writes her and begs her to come, Lady Anne immediately responds. Lydia hinted at there being mysterious things going on at Darkefell Castle and the possibilities of a werewolf. Unfortunately Lydia fails to tell the rest of the household of Lady Anne's imminent arrival. Since there is no carriage to take Lady Anne from the post house to the castle, and it is nearing dusk, she sets out on foot. As darkness descends, she hears a howl and a woman's screams. Trying to find the woman in the dark seems futile, until, as luck would have it, she stumbles over her body - but it is too late. She continues to make her way to the castle and arrives, unannounced, covered in blood with questions already arising. The Marquess of Darkefell is a brooding handsome man who finds Lady Anne to be very bothersome. She insists on prying into his family's secrets - secrets he wishes to remain hidden. At the same time, her seemingly unflappable resolve and calm around him has him mystified. He has never met a woman who has been immune to his charms. He is also entertained by her quick wit and intelligence. I highly recommend this book. Donna Lea Simpson's writing style is very engaging and draws you in immediately. She gives great descriptions of both countryside and characters. She had dressed her bonnet with some of the purple tulips from her crushed bouquet, and as they nodded above her shadowed face, she looked both absurd and oddly adorable. He glanced at the path then back at her. It was true her nose was a little too long and her chin too pointed. There was a faint equine suggestion about the nose and generous mouth. Her color was good, though, and her dark hair glossy; she glowed with health and vivacity. (from Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, p 207, uncorrected copy) "But cultivated gardens have their place, my lord," she said, ambling toward the eddy, a swirling, shadowed pool at the base of the waterfall. She stood on a humped hillock of moss and stared, admiring the sparkle of sunlight on the drops that scattered as a rivulet hit a rock. Mist billowed from the force of the falls and bedewed her cheeks. (from Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, p 215, uncorrected copy) You can almost feel the tension that Lord Darkefell feels when he is around Lady Anne - and her optimism in the face of crises abounds. I really enjoyed Lady Anne and am glad that I will get to read more of her in the future. Donna Lea Simpson has two more books coming out with Lady Anne - Lady Anne and the Ghost's Revenge and Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The letter from her best friend Lady Lydia Bestwick seemed hysterical to sensible Lady Anne Addison. However, concerned about her buddy's mad rant regarding werewolf sightings, Anne travels to Darkefeel Castle in Yorkshire to prove her wrong and bring some peace of mind to Lydia. Forced to go on foot to complete her trek to the remote castle, Anne hears the scream of a woman in the dark gloomy woods before stumbling upon a corpse. As she investigates the homicide she tripped over and the alleged werewolf sightings sworn to God by the villagers and employees of the castle, Anne realizes the evidence points towards the only uncooperative person in the vicinity, Lydia's recalcitrant brother-in-law the Marquess of Darkefell. As Anne finds indications of a poorly developed frame with ties to the bustling slave trade, the Marquess makes it clear he wants her in spite of his objection to her independence and courage. This is a fabulous historical amateur sleuth that introduces readers to a terrific Georgian Era gender bending detective. The story line contains three wonderful subplots that tie together with a Moebius Knot twist: romance, investigation including into potentially paranormal and the profound look at the slave trade with its biblical "Curse of Ham" misinterpretation rationalization. With a nod to The Hound of the Baskervilles albeit a century plus earlier, Donna Lea Simpson's first Lady Anne eighteenth century mystery is a howling success. Harriet Klausner