by Gail Dayton
(romantic fantasy, steampunk)
This is the second in a series of romantic fantasy novels set in Victorian England. It has almost but not quite got steampunk elements to it – there are some machines mentioned, but I suspect these machines are created more by magic than by a scientist the way true steampunk would be. (They are not discussed a lot in this book, but I get the impression they are in the first book more… I have not yet read that one.) I picked up the novel because I was looking for examples of steampunk romances to inspire me. It’s not so much a steampunk, but it was good inspiration!
I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were easy to believe, the plot was enjoyable, and the magic was nicely explained. I didn’t even matter that I hadn’t read the first book prior to this one – though I did end up finding out things that may spoil the first plot.
My one real complaint was that we get hints of the main characters’ big hang-ups, but they don’t really come out until they have their major argument. We get hints of her issues, and he tells her (and therefore us) that he has major issues with his family. However, I didn’t really get the impression that they were huge issues until they blew up into something that threatened the HEA. I would have preferred more screen-time for these issues, since they were obviously so important.
The rest of it, though, was quite well done. And while it is a romance, it is not what I would label an erotic romance. There are a couple detailed love scenes, but for the most part it fades to black. And even when detail is given, the language is shyer than most modern-era romances.
I hope Ms. Dayton continues with this series, as I want to see more of what she has planned. And in the meantime, I’ll be picking up the first book in the series the next time I head into a bookstore.