Confession: I’ve never actually been to a haunted house. Seriously, never. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do scary. How did I find myself reading a steampunk version of Beauty and the Beast with vampires and werewolves and ghosts and loving it? I’m glad you asked…
I’d previously read Nancy Campbell Allen‘s book My Fair Gentleman and liked it. I’ve read many of the other books in the Proper Romance Series and enjoyed them. I’m a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast and fairy tale spins in general. So, I picked up a book by an author that I’d liked about a fairy tale I love and found myself enjoyably ‘punked’.
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. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?
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 admit, due to my complete lack of steampunk knowledge (the only thing I previously knew was they wore really cool clothes and accessories) it took me a couple chapters and a little bit of research of the genre to get into the lingo and background. However, the characters were so compelling and the story line so intriguing for the rest of the book the unfamiliar world became familiar.
I was completely charmed by both main characters, and enchanted by their developing relationship. Nancy wove their backgrounds, desires and purposes together masterfully.
While I enjoyed her book “My Fair Gentleman” it didn’t stand out among the vast array of regency books available currently. The world she’s created in this novel however, is nothing short of remarkable. It’s like she’s found her own unique voice, and it’s beautiful.
I particularly appreciated how the more mystical elements of the story were creatively used as plot enhancing details. Instead of a book meant to scare my pants off, it was a delightful mystery that kept me sleuthing right up to the ‘who done it’ reveal.
PS- Kiss of a Spindle the next in the series follows Lucy’s brother Daniel and comes out July 3rd, you really should preorder it now, it’s awesome! Look for our review around that time.