Steampunk Romance, Holiday
Ebook $9.99 (CARINA PRESS)
We Wish You a Steampunk Christmas
Changed forever after tragedy, a woman must draw strength from her husband's love. A man learns that love isn't always what you expect. A thief steals the heart of a vengeful professor. And an American inventor finds love Down Under. Enjoy Victorian Christmas with a clockwork twist in these four steampunk novellas.
Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail
This Winter Heart by PG Forte
Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz
Far From Broken by JK Coi
Author Sites: pgforte.com, jkcoi.com, stacygail.blogspot.com, authorjennyschwartz.com
As Steampunk Romance Good, as Holiday Romance Not (3 stars)
In the past year the world of steampunk fiction has been heating up the pages with an influx of steamy romance. It's no surprise that Carina Press called for submissions for this anthology last year but what surprised me was that while enjoyable as steampunk romances not one of these felt particularly Christmas-centric. Every single one felt as if it had been already written then quickly had some minor changes made to set it in the holiday season (which may or may not actually be the case, I do not know). Which was ultimately so disappointing for me I found it hard not to give this a lower rating.
Keeping that factor in mind each of these authors has a distinctive voice and the variety of settings and plots here is rich. If I put my hand over one eye and pretended this wasn't supposed to be a holiday anthology I'd give it four stars but it has to lose one for the lack of holiday flavor. But let's break each down individually shall we?
[CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET by Stacy Gail] A thief who must steal back a priceless gift by Christmas morning or forfeit her life. The man who lost a woman dear to his heart thanks to her. Danger and gadgetry lace this adventure and the lush chemistry between Cordelia and Roderick sparks off the page. (4 stars)
[THIS WINTER HEART by P.G. Forte] An emotionally wounded mother brings the son his father never knew existed to meet him. Rejected by her husband thanks to the nature of her existence Ophelia must convince Dario that the boy is his son. A difficult plot to wrap one's head around I simply could not get past Dario's awful behavior enough to connect with this story. Simply put, the hero is an asshole and the heroine is pathetic, hated them both though I liked Forte's style and the concept. (2 star)
[WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL by Jenny Schwartz] An American inventor visiting Australia is propositioned by a local suffragette to represent her beliefs in the men's clubs. Esme thinks Jed a scoundrel, the sort of man with little money and morals, but he's more than meets the eye. These characters and this story really put a smile on my face. The steampunk elements were a tiny bit light but overall this was a well done romance for such a short story, I loved it. (5 stars)
[FAR FROM BROKEN by J.K. Coi] A spy must confront the damage done in the physical repairing of his ballerina bride after his enemies tortured her. A couple coming to grips with the changes both physiological and emotional when their love and lives have been run through the worst. Callie might be damaged but Jasper will learn you can't fix what isn't truly broken. Even though it was the least Christmasy, in my humble opinion, this was a really great story. (4 stars)
As a collection A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS was a nice sampler of authors I've been wanting to read and a great place to try on steampunk romance. As a holiday anthology it doesn't shine but is still worth picking up if you're not that into the holiday thing.
Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.