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.
Damn it all, in this enlightened age no human should know what it was to be beaten so brutally. Violence against women--even against Cornelia--was something he couldn't stand.
So speaks the man who swore to all and sundry he would bring about her death in five days' time, he thought.
From This Winter Heart by PG Forte:
Dario was already running toward the blaze, shrugging out of his coat as he went.
But it was too late. He knew it was too late.
From Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz:
"He's always going on about a person defending their rights." She smiled. "'Course, he was talking mining rights, but voting rights for women are just as important. So many women can't fight for themselves, but I can and I will."
From Far From Broken by JK Coi:
"Did you realize that the operations you agreed to would make me faster than you? Do you know that I can see the sweat beading on your forehead right now with this new eye? That this hand could snap your neck in an instant? You wouldn't even see me move. You wouldn't have time to whisper a plea for your life."
This is an imaginative and enjoyable quartet of novellas, and with the exception of Wanted: One Scoundrel, they're very steamy, too. Crime Wave in a Corset finds master thief Cornelia plotting the most important heist she's ever made in order to save herself from professor Roderick's plans for vengeance. Tasking her to retrieve the item she stole from him months earlier or face death, he's determined to bring the heartless criminal to her knees, but soon discovers Cornelia's not all that she appears in this sexy story of opposites attracting. This Winter Heart is wildly inventive, taking place in the southwest after the Confederacy won the Civil War, thanks in part to Ophelia's father's invention of the automaton soldier. But it was not happily ever after for the celebrated scholar, and after his death Ophelia is destitute, leaving her no choice but to return to Dario, the man who broke her heart years ago when he discovered her biggest secret. And now she has another secret to share with him--their son. I thought this story was the most creative out of the bunch, but Dario's close-mindedness was so infuriating and so insulting to Ophelia, that I had a hard time rooting for the two of them to find their way back to each other.
Esme and Jed from Wanted: One Scoundrel were probably my favorite characters, but their story was the least developed. Their story did have the most clockwork, though, with a lot of neat little inventions making Victorian life easier. Taking place in an Australian town on the verge of explosive growth and prosperity, Esme is fighting for women's rights but finds she needs a man in her corner to sway the members of the gentlemen's clubs. Fresh off the boat from America, Jed is more than willing to play a part in a beautiful woman's plans. But he finds he has a rival for Esme's affections, someone willing to go to any lengths to have Esme's fortune for himself. And last but not least, Far From Broken is a story with so much substance, emotion, and backstory that it would've made a great full-length novel. Colonel Jasper Carlisle is deeply involved in the British intelligence game, but kept that information from beautiful ballerina Calliandra when he wooed her and proposed marriage. Two years later, while Jasper was off on a mission, his enemies targeted his wife, abducting her and brutally torturing her. Suffering horrific injuries, a talented doctor reconstructs Callie, but the resulting body leaves her feeling like a monster, and her psychological injuries may never heal. Submerged in guilt and rage, Jasper spends the months of Callie's recovery tracking down her assailants and exacting his revenge. Finally ready to face his wife, Jasper returns and discovers that she's not ready to face him. He is determined to win her back, but as the couple starts to make headway and Callie finds new strength, an enemy returns to finish the job he started.
Overall, I enjoyed each of these romantic stories, but none of them had enough Christmas in them to make them Christmas stories, in my opinion, and in Wanted: One Scoundrel and Far From Broken, Christmas is barely even mentioned. So that disappointed me, because I was really looking forward to some steampunk Christmas celebrations, and I didn't find those in this collection. But if you're looking for something different in romance, you should definitely check this collection out, It's unlike anything else I've read this year, and that's a good thing! And since it's digital, you've still got plenty of time to download it and read it this Christmas!
My Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
*Please Note: This review references an advance digital copy received via NetGalley, and the finished copy may differ. Thouhg I received this book for review, these are my unbiased opnions and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.