Beauty and the Clockwork Beast (Steampunk Proper Romance #1) by Nancy Campbell Allen

When Lucy Pickett receives a letter from her ailing cousin Kate, she rushes to Blackwell Manor. Yet upon her arrival she finds more than she bargained for: ghosts roam the hallways, werewolves are rumored to run the grounds, and vampires have been attacking the villagers in a nearby town. Blackwell Manor seems to be full of secrets and many of them seem to center of Lord Blackwell himself.

Lord Miles Blackwell is still reeling from the mysterious deaths of his wife Clara, and his sister Maria, six months earlier. The arrival of the smart and attractive Lucy Pickett doesn’t help his mood any. Her attempts to bring peace to Blackwell Manor means her digging in to the family’s past and raising questions he isn’t ready to answer.

Being a fan of the Steampunk genre, I always find it enjoyable discovering new authors. Especially when said author gives a new twist to an old favorite story.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is touted as ‘Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast’ in one review, and I feel I must respectfully disagree. In reading this book I found almost no similarities between it and Jane Eyre. There were similarities though between it and Beauty and the Beast – a story I quite enjoy.

One thing I quite liked was how the whole Steampunk thing (the fashion, the gadgets, etc. etc.) took a back seat to the actual story. Unfortunately there are authors who use them almost as a crutch, the technology being the star of the story leaving very little room for plot. Allen doesn’t do this; instead she uses the technology to simply add flavor to the story. Were the Tesla coils, airships, and other accessories to be removed from the story on the whole, I firmly believe the story itself would be enjoyable.

Also, while Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is touted as a romance, the romantic plot isn’t integral to the story either. It is a side plot, masterly woven in to the main plot so the two run side by side.

Fans of Steampunk as well as romance enthusiasts are likely to enjoy this book. I am curious to see what the second book of the series entails and will be keeping an eye out for it at my local library.

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