Beauty And The Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
Genres/Themes: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk, Historical, Victorian, Romance, Mystery, Fairy Tale Retelling
*I received this book as an ARC from netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review*
I really enjoyed this book. It took me a chapter or so to get my bearings and understand what was going. But, I do not often read steampunk nor Victorian era books. Not that I don’t like them, just not what I often find to read.
Lucy Pickett travels to Blackwell manor to come to the aid of her dear cousin Kate, who has fallen ill. Kate, who is newly married to Jonathon Blackwell, is one to rarely fall ill so, her being sick is of great concern to Lucy. She decides she will stay until Kate is better.
Of course, this isn’t easy. She can’t understand why Kate is ill. There is the ‘Bride’s curse’ she has to contend with, vampires attacking the nearby town, Kate’s annoying new cousins and aunt, a ghost, and Lord Blackwell.
Miles Blackwell, Earl Blackwell is brash and inhospitable. He has a secret that could be deadly if gotten out. His recent bride and his sister recently died which has unsettled him deeply. With Lucy’s help they will work together bring peace to Blackwell manor.
This was great.
At first the Beauty and the Beast theme is really hinted at. Miles Blackwell is called ‘beast’ or a beast of a man even if we didn’t get the hint already. I did like that this isn’t totally about appearance (Blackwell does have a hideous scar but, Lucy doesn’t find it that troublesome even from the first meeting) no, what was beastly is his personality and the fact he turns into a werewolf.
As the story went on, I actually forgot that this was inspired by Beauty and The Beast –which is a good thing. The story truly became its own.
As for characters:
- Lucy is a strong female character who is loyal, kind, intelligent, and our Beauty. I thought she was a kick. I loved seeing things through her eyes and her reactions to everyone. She was charming. Lucy is strong but, cries and I thought that was a nice balance. Although, the way she ran into things without regard of personal safety at times was baffling.
- Miles Blackwell is the male lead. He’s brooding, socially inept, but loyal and protective of his own. He could be funny with his never understanding Lucy but, frustrating when he says anything to Lucy about her brother allowing her to do anything BUT! this brings personal growth. I thought he was a lovely character.
- Suspect pool aka side characters. I thought most of the characters had a good personality, even if we are led to dislike a few. Poor Kate [only non-suspect] is someone we don’t get to see often but, she is sick. Some of the housekeepers were slightly bland, like the cook, but they also didn’t appear much.
I liked Lucy and Blackwell’s relationship. It really seemed to grow. I enjoyed them as a couple and they seem to help each other with both of their separate strengths.
I will say the supernatural part of the story was not fully explained. I would have liked to know more about the poison from the vampires — it wasn’t until the end I knew the poison came from the fingernails… unless I have forgotten a place at the beginning. Also, with werewolves we aren’t specifically told how long they shift (days and hours of the day) and I’m guessing only at night. It also came as a surprise that they couldn’t shift on command.
–These aren’t things that seem to have a place to mention to this entirety but, I still would have liked to know more.
Besides that issue, I enjoyed reading this book. I’m hoping the sequel/s is/are about Blackwell’s friends (like Lucy’s brother?? what is his secret!) I would definitely want to read it.