Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

When I first read the back copy for Nancy Campbell Allen's new book, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, I almost passed on it. I don't read a lot of fantasy stuff with vampires and shape-shifters, but I love Nancy's work and since it was also billed as a proper romance, I decided to pick it up. I am glad I did!

Lucy's cousin Kate has recently married and she's fallen ill. Since Lucy is a renowned botanist and loves her like a sister, she goes to Blackwell Manor to help.  Once she arrives, however, she can almost immediately see there is something wrong in the household.  The Earl of Blackwell is an imposing figure of a man dealing with the rumors swirling around him that he might have killed his wife and sister.  Lucy finds him secretive and yet, there's something about him that draws her closer. Someone must think she's getting too close, however, when strange happenings begin to occur. Does Lucy dare proceed to unravel the mysteries of Blackwell Manor? Or will she take Kate and run for their lives?

I was completely drawn into this world of Blackwell Manor and the fun clothing and gadgets.  I thought the author did a great job in letting the reader really imagine the steampunk world and made it fit in naturally with the story.  The mystery and romance, however, is what kept me turning pages (some parts were so deliciously creepy!) I loved Miles and how he slowly let down his guard with Lucy, astounded at how she turns to him when she is in danger. His self-realization that he's worthy of love despite his curse and flaws was so tender and sweet. Definitely a sigh-worthy hero.

Lucy was the star of the story, though. She's strong and smart and works tirelessly to find the murderer. Along the way she shows her true character of love and compassion as she starts to fall in love with the one man who doesn't seem to want it. I really enjoyed seeing her break all the rules for the ones she loves.

This is a book that will make you think, keep you guessing, and make you a fan of proper romance in a steampunk world. I loved it!

Here's the back copy:

Just like in 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's younger brother. For Lucy, the trip is a welcomed respite from her work and recent discovery-a breakthrough serum that could eliminate the scourge of vampires from London.

However, 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's 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 toward 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. 

Also includes a 15-page bonus prequel novelette, Marie s Story. Marie Blake is Miles s younger sister, and her untimely death begins the story of "Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. "Set on the eve of her murder and told in the first-person from her point-of-view readers will get to her know her as a person, and not just as the ghost who haunts the halls of Blackwell Manor. The story provides greater depth and more personal details to one of most memorable characters in the novel.

You can get your copy here 

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