Beauty and the Clockwork Beast: The Steampunk Proper Romances, Book 1
By: Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: The Steampunk Proper Romances, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
Release date: 08-02-16
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk, Victorian Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.5; Narration 4.5.
Like the classic Beauty and the Beast, this steampunk romance features an unlikely love story.
The Lord of Blackwell Manor, Miles, is plagued by a family curse that changes him into a shape-shifting wolf every month during the full moon.
Lucy, a smart, attractive, and well-respected botanist, travels to Blackwell Manor to take care of her sick cousin, Kate, who is married to Miles' younger brother. For Lucy, the trip is a welcome respite from her work and recent discovery of a breakthrough serum that could eliminate the scourge of vampires from London. But Lucy finds more than she bargained for when she arrives at the Manor.
Miles, who is brash and inhospitable, does not take kindly to visitors. He is still unsettled by the mysterious death of his newlywed wife. And then there's Marie, Miles' sister, who was attacked and murdered just weeks earlier. Miles is horrified to think that he might be to blame for the deaths. And who is the ghost that haunt the halls?
Lucy is convinced that the death of Miles's wife and sister - as well as her cousin's mysterious illness - are tied together, but how? Lady Charlesworth has her eye on inheriting Blackwell Manor for her family. Could her daughter, Candice, or her son, Arthur, have had a hand in the mysterious deaths? The clues make a vampire suspect highly likely. During her investigation, Lucy finds herself caring deeply for Miles, but he fights to keep his distance in order to protect Lucy from his family's secret. And, yet, he feels attracted to the woman who is able to look past the fearsome-looking scar that has marred his handsome face. With no other option, Miles and Lucy must work together if they are to find the answer to the mysteries at the manor.
But that's not all Lucy wants to solve. There's a deeper mystery behind Miles. Can she solve that too? Ultimately, she must decide if she can love the man - beast and all.
Includes bonus novella, Marie's Story.
©2016 Nancy Campbell Allen (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Lucy is busy with her scientific and botanist tasks. She recently discovered an anti-vampire serum and wants to continue the work on this project. But she is quick to rush to her cousin’s side when she hears that Kate is ill. Kate recently married Jonathan, a younger brother to the dark Lord of Blackwell Manor, Miles. Lucy doesn’t know much about the family but there are rumors that the Lord’s may have been involved in the death of his new wife and his sister shortly after.
Miles is plagued by a family curse that is a closely held secret. He goes to his family’s hunting lodge every month at the full moon – and that is only one of his secrets. He is distressed by the unsolved murder of his wife and the brutal killing of his sister. Miles doesn’t like having strangers around and although he appreciates that Lucy wants to help her cousin, he is not so thrilled to have her snooping around. He also isn’t happy to have his aunt, Lady Charlesworth, and her adult children, Arthur and Candice, swooping in for extended visits whenever they want.
Lucy is sure Miles is hiding something but doesn’t think he is guilty of the murders in his household. Lucy soon believes that Kate is being poisoned. She also suspects that the household robotic servants are being used in the plot. Can she get enough evidence to convince the reclusive Miles to listen to her and take action before it’s too late?
I really liked the complex characters of Lucy and Miles. There is a reluctant attraction that develops slowly as they learn about and begin to trust each other. There is a lovely dance scene that changes the dynamic between them. Miles has some strong friends who are willing to stand with him, including Lucy’s brother. Several of these characters appear in the rest of the series. I enjoyed reading book 3, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower, and I just got the other books from Audible Plus. I like the mix of mystery, steampunk, shifter, and Victorian romance. I recommend this to fans of these genres.
Audio Notes: Saskia Maarleveld does a lovely job with the narration. I liked the accent and the pacing of the delivery. The narration added to my enjoyment of the story.