Title:   The Villainous Viscount or The Curse of the Venn’s

Author:  Lucinda Elliot

Genre:  Dark comedy, Historical Regency Gothic

Publisher:  Freya

Publication Date:  August 2016



An appreciative satire of the cliches of classical Gothic.

When Clarissa Greendale inherits the fortune of disreputable uncle she hardly knows, she does not expect to find herself forced into marriage with an aristocratic fortune hunter and wild, brawling, debauched social outcast. Not only that, but her name featured some way down on the list of eligible heiresses he planned to court. Still, Clarinda has always found Harley Venn set off the most unmaidenly tinglings in her; that is one consolation…

Yet neither did Clarinda expect to inherit the legacy of a wrongdoing from half a century before. For the wicked if beguiling Lord Venn seems to have inherited a family curse, which, having dispatched the main perpetrators of the old crime, now moves on to their heirs, who are just as wild a set of rakes as their elders. There are rumours of violent deaths preceded by appearances from an inexorable hooded spectre, of inexplicable strikes of lightning, and of haunted mirrors.

The light-hearted Harley Venn dismisses all these as conjuring tricks. He even hires a drunken charlatan of a professional magician to prove it.

Clarinda is far from sure that there is any rational explanation. Still, it would take more than an enforced marriage to an incorrigible pugilistic libertine or persecution from malevolent spectres to damage her steely nerves and sense of the ridiculous.

This lively dark comedy, set in the author’s native UK of 1821 and written as a good natured satire of the cliches of classical Gothic, gives the reader a warm-hearted and courageous heroine, a rascally but beguiling anti-hero and an authentic historical background to the delightfully over-the-top adventures, a cast of wholly believable characters, an engaging love story and many chills on its way to its tumultuous conclusion.


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I can tell the villain hides something from me. Something happened at what he calls, ‘The Castle of Doom’. I have got to know him that much already. But I must not think of him as ‘the villain’. I must somehow try to love him, without blinding myself to his faults. Otherwise, I must make vows that are a travesty—apart from that foolish ‘obey’ one, that is—and end in detesting him.

What would you do if you found out that your family was cursed? Would you watch your every step in fear of the curse catching up to you? Would you live carelessly, confident that the curse has no bearing on you? This novel has an interesting plot, one with romance, dark satire, and supernatural elements intertwined. The Villainous Viscount or The Curse of the Venns by Lucinda Elliot is humorous, dark, and will entertain readers who enjoy reading this genre.


Clarinda Greendale is as innocent as they come, but Harley Venn is a much different story. She finds out that an uncle has left her a fortune, after an untimely fall to his death. That is when she meets the Villainous Viscount in the flesh. Little does she know that her reputation is on the verge of ruining her entire family with the likes of Harley Venn. Clarinda finds Harley to be handsome enough, but knows that he is a social outcast. He is a pariah among the entire town, but Venn made a promise to a fallen comrade that he would turn his life around and find a good girl. After a few attempts at a marriage proposal…and a few declines, Harley must persuade Clarinda that he can reform, especially since he is being followed by a mysterious hooded trickster who seems to be after the Venn family.


Elliot has an entertaining story-line; however, there are several grammatical errors. This can be confusing, especially if the reader is not very knowledgeable about the era. The character development is terrific, allowing the reader to come to their own conclusions about each character’s personality. If you are a reader of Gothic romance and dark humor, you may be interested in picking this one up.


A copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by Book Unleashed, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a four-star rating for The Villainous Viscount or The Curse of the Venns by Lucinda Elliot.


Author Bio:

Lucinda Elliot grew up in various parts of the UK in a series of great old houses her parents were renovating before it became fashionable. They would have made fine settings for Gothic stories, and perhaps that is why she writes Gothic. Having lived and worked in London for many years, she now lives in Mid Wales with her family. She likes working out, is a classical novel geek and is addicted to tea. She loves a laugh above anything.