I have been a huge fan of Gail Carriger since reading Soulless way back in 2011! Carriger has a wonderful whit that translates so well onto the pages of her stories.
When this short story came across my desk for review, I was thrilled to read another book set in the same world that Carriger has crafted so well!
Over the years she has written the Parasol Protectorate series which is more of an adult read, and then the Finishing School series which is more of a YA read but both are set in the same world that the PP series begins.
This latest novella is also set in the same world…..a steampunk universe full of manners, spies, and of course the supernatural not to mention a few familiar characters from the other books.
Lady Preshea Villentia, the Mourning Star, has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black. What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment.
It was supposed to be easy, a house party with minimal bloodshed. Preshea hadn’t anticipated Captain Gavin Ruthven – massive, Scottish, quietly irresistible, and… working for the enemy. In a battle of wits, Preshea may risk her own heart – a terrifying prospect, as she never knew she had one.
Preshea and Gavin clearly are drawn to one another but their assignments as well as their past, complicate matters. Preshea must decide if she is ready to open her heart while Gavin waits anxiously for her to make her decision.
This novella is more of an adult romance with a little intrigue mixed in. I thought both of the main characters had chemistry and Carriger wrote tasteful love scenes that were erotic as well as tender. I felt invested in their relationship and enjoyed watching Preshea overcome her own reservations about love. Preshea obviously came with baggage and had issues she needed to work out but Gavin never ‘forced’ her to love him nor did he try to change or rescue her which I liked. He respected just as she was and that alone made me love him as the hero of the romance.
The intrigue part of the story was a little bland for me. With short stories or novellas sometimes it’s difficult to develop a meaningful backstory. In this book, Preshea and Gavin meet because they are both on an assignment to protect the Duke Snodgrove who is their host for a country party. They are to protect him from an assassination attempt…..an attempt is made but that’s basically it. After that it’s all romance and happy endings without any resolution to the intrigue story line.
Had this been a full length book that story line would have to be tied up and explained more but because this was a novella, I wasn’t that bothered by the unfinished plot line but I would have liked to see more of an explanation for it beyond just being a catalyst for the two main characters ‘meeting’…..if that makes sense.
The focus of this novella was clearly the romance, which I was fine with. Carriger writes so beautifully, her wit and charm echo on the pages of all her books. I see this novella is part of a new series set in the same world as the PP series and the Finishing School books, with the Finishing School characters being all grown up…..I wonder if they will all follow a similar format as this one? I love the world that Carriger has constructed so much that on one hand I don’t care if the stories are shorter but at the same time I am craving more lengthy, developed books and stories.
All that said, I loved this book! It was a quick read (147 ish pages) and the romance was satisfying and I loved the supernatural and steampunk elements casually mixed in. Another hit for Carriger! Now I’m going to pour myself a cup of tea and wait for the next installment to this new series!
ebook, 147 pagesPublished June 21st 2016 by GAIL CARRIGER, LLC
- Review copy provided by: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5
Genre: steampunk, historical romance, historical fiction, supernatural, pararomance, Victorian lit
Memorable lines/quotes: NA