Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #1
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Purchase at: Amazon
Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.
When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?
I have been waiting for this book to come out since April and it is finally in my hot little hands. It was so much more than I had hoped for. It has the steampunk elements that I adore. It has vampires, shape-shifters, mediums and humans with exceptional qualities. Loved it! This book for me is amazing; it felt like it had a blending of Jane Eyre, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Beauty and the Beast. Those three books happen to also be my favorites so I had warm fuzzies going on throughout this story.
First thing first– Are there really steampunk elements in this story? Yes! Yes! Yes! From beginning to end! It has airships, clockwork carriages, and automatons among other things. Not only do we see automatons on the airships but they are also essential staff members and some that even have artificial coverings to make them appear more human. They are programmable for their duties as well as personality wise. So cool!! I loved this addition of characters to the story. There are also shape-shifters that have modified clockwork-hearts because when they shift from human to other the human heart is insufficient to carry the “load” that a shape-shifter requires. Eeeek! Last but not least, characters walk around with goggles as part of their attire because hey you never know when you are going to jump aboard an airship.
The setting of this story is an alternate Victorian England where the existence of vampires, shape-shifters and zombies are all anomalies that have been verified by science. Our heroine, Lucy Pickett, is an accomplished research botanist and public spokesperson for the Botanical Aid Society of London. Her belief is that if it is real it can be proven and she is very comfortable with reality based upon facts.
When she receives a letter from her recently married cousin, Kate Blake, stating that she has been unwell and that she believes that it may be due to a ghost haunting the premises, Lucy is dubious and goes to visit her cousin vowing not to leave until she is better. While in route to Blackwood Manor she also contemplates the Earl of Blackwood and the mysterious death of his wife and murder of his sister, which happened within one day of each other. Which leads her to consider that the circumstance her cousin finds herself in to be of a natural cause rather than a supernatural one.
“She couldn’t exactly define what it was that roused her from sleep. The room was dark with only moonlight streaming in from the turret window. And there was a woman at the foot of her bed, watching her.”
Oh dang! That’s creepy! Yes, there are some supernatural beings in this story after all but what about Lord Blackwell? Is he above suspicion? Hmmm, Lucy is not sure. He is really cranky and secretive but somehow she doubts that he is capable of cold-blooded murder. Now there is talk about “The Bride’s Curse” that has affected several of the Blake predecessors. So what are we talking about here, a killer, a murdering ghost, a curse?!?
This story is very well written. There are many fantasy elements, steampunk elements, Victorian elements, and horticultural elements that are woven together and throughout this story. Very nicely done! Also, let’s not forget that this is a “Steampunk Proper Romance” and the romance is quite proper and hey maybe a little naughty too. Yeah, I liked the romance elements and found that for me this book was a page-turner that I did not want to put down!