Winter of the Passion Flower by Annie Seaton
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (70 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid
Sexy heroine seeks captain for time-traveling submarine.
Indigo de Vargas is determined to exhibit her products at the Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace. The evil Duke Lorca and his shape-shifting servants, however, have thwarted her preparation at every turn. Indigo's only hope is the brooding captain who appears on her doorstep in the midst of a fierce snowstorm offering to navigate her submarine to the Amazon so she can collect passionflowers for her potions and hallucinogenics.
Steam powers more than the submarine on this voyage. Sparks flying between Indigo and her captain may ignite a passion neither can avoid. Ably assisted by quirky servants, brass goggles and inappropriate accouterments, they must fightthose out to foil her mission.
Steampunk novels are often set in London, but this one is located in Cornwall and provides a welcome change to the genre.
Indigo de Vargas is an unusual woman in the Victorian era. She not only rules her own household but also runs her own business, inherited from her father. When Captain Doogooder, also known as Zane Thoreau, arrives on her doorstep she is at first suspicious, but enlists him in her efforts to collect the necessary ingredients for her exhibit at the Great Exhibition being held by Prince Albert.
They are drawn to one another, but both have secrets that must be revealed before they can give in to their feelings.
I love the way the author wove Cornwall into her story. The biospheres reminded me of the Eden Project in Cornwall, while the introduction of a few words of the Cornish language showed the author knew her location, or had researched it well. Both characters were strong and Indigo in particular was very much an individual who bowed to no one. She places herself against the government and her nearest neighbor, and those who are close to her follow her lead because they love her. Her servants, her submarine crew and eventually Zane Thoreau - all fall under her spell. Zane, who is in the mode of the open shirt, tanned chest adventurer, originally comes to spy on Indigo, but I believe he changed his mind before he arrived on her doorstep. Once he saw her all was lost as his emotions took over.
Although short, this is a wonderful book full of richness of scenery, characters and romance. At the end of the book it mentions this is the first of a series of several books. I suggest you read this one quick before the next one comes out.