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Monday, May 23, 2011

Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape

Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape
Gaslight Chronicles
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (453 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Orchid

Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.

Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she's ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.

When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery...

If Steam and Sorcery is an example of Steampunk Romance I’m going to put this genre on my favorites list.

The time is 1851. Queen Victoria is on the throne of England. On the surface the era appears unchanged from the one we know from history. All is not as it seems.

Sir Merrick Hadrian is a Knight of the Round Table. He is descended from Arthur’s original knights - who were were completely different from the knights portrayed in legend. Merrick is gifted with magic. His secret duties include disposing of vampires, rogue werewolfs and other supernatural beings who endanger the mechanical Victorian England.

Life becomes extremely complicated when five gifted children help him defeat several vampires. He suspects one of them is descended from a Knight. He takes all five children into his home to protect them from the revenge of the vampires. Chaos erupts in his orderly household so he hires a governess and then promptly falls in love with her.

Caroline Bristol is not the frumpy governess she tries to appear. An instant rapport grows between her and the children, but she also has a hidden talent - or fault as she thinks of it. Her other problem is the instant attraction she develops for her employer.

The two adults and five children must solve the riddle of the vampires. Merrick and Caroline also have the difficulty of fighting their growing desire for each other.

I thought Steampunk Romance differed from ordinary romances by having machines appearing in unlikely times of history, particularly Victorian times. Ms. Spencer Pape has certainly placed her story in the correct era. The wonderful machines in her book also make it steampunk. George the mechanical dog is a particular favorite of mine. Her inclusion of the paranormal and magic is so natural it gives the story a well deserved richness in tone. Humor lightens the world of the paranormal which can often be dark and scary.

The characters are people you could imagine in your everyday life. Caroline is a feisty young lady who refuses to allow any male employer to take advantage. Merrick is determined not to marry. What wife would allow him to chase vampires and werewolves? Five children ranging in age from nine to sixteen add a contrast between being funny, and at times distressing.

Definitely a book I would recommend. Truth be told, I couldn’t put this one down.