Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape

Steam & Sorcery
Author: Cindy Spencer Pape
Publication: Carina Press (March 7, 2011)

Description: Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.

Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she's ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.

When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery...

My Thoughts: This was a wonderful historical paranormal romance. I liked the time period in the story. Victoria was queen, Albert was still alive, and England was a bustle of invention and innovation. Add to that magick, vampyres, werewolves and a heroine who is part fairy and you have a wonderful mixture of romance and magic. 

Sir Merrick finds himself the guardian of five gifted children after they assist him when he is attacked by vampyres. The oldest is Tommy who is the illegitimate son of another knight and who shows strong knightly powers. Wink is the oldest girl. She is a mechanical genius. Nell sees ghosts and young Jamie has visions of the future. The other child is Piers who is a capable pickpocket and able to open locks quickly. Civilizing this mixed group of children won't be easy.

Caroline is up for that task but is wary about taking a job in a single gentleman's household. She is too young and attractive and has been hunted and harassed by previous employers. Meeting the children convinces her that she is needed and the respectful treatment she gets from Merrick seals the deal. 

Their romance grows naturally from shared experiences and proximity. They are both attracted to each other and, at first, try to keep their distance. Meanwhile, Sir Merrick is investigating a problem of vampyres starting to congregate and someone stealing secret plans to make it possible for vampyres to blend into human society unnoticed. He is investigating the theft of parts from various Babbage engines and fears that the villains are getting ready to build their own machine to make the formula real. 

This was exciting and cozy at the same time. I liked the interaction of all the family members. I liked the slowly building romance. I recommend the book to lovers of romance and the paranormal.

Favorite Quote:
The barest brush of skin against skin burned like an electrical shock. This wasn't faery magic or a Knight's power, but the raw, elemental earth magick of make and female.

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