Series: Gaslight Chronicles #4
Published by Carina Press on 22 October 2012
Wink is all grown up and while she is an engineer who has sound ideas on the uses of electricity, everyone seems to want her to get married. Her suitor Connor is a dear friend but there is no spark between them. The man she really wants, Liam, claims he doesn’t want her. Wink is thrown together with Liam as they try to find what happened to the scores of people and dogs that have recently gone missing in London and how to protect the Queen from a villainous plot.
I liked Wink in many ways as she is independent and has a way with machines. She refuses to be pigeonholed as either a society chit or a blue stocking and makes her own path. Obviously her adopted parents’ wealth and her revised background have made this easier. Wink was originally fairly well to do but when her parents died, she ended up thieving on the street. Since she has been rescued from poverty, she has been given room to develop in whatever areas she wants. At times Wink’s views were just plain odd, especially when she described her first sexual experience. I thought it was tragic rather than an amusing anecdote. A dab hand with both a rapier and a spanner, Wink is quite unusual and she needs an unconventional husband to suit her.
Liam might be a well-respected Inspector at Scotland Yard but he’s a bit dense in the romance stakes. He suffers from ‘I love you but I’m not worthy of you so I’m going to throw you at some other bloke and wallow in self-pity’ syndrome. He’s afraid his werewolf genes will mean that he will be cruel to whoever he marries, just like his father was to his mother. His repeated attempts to throw Connor and Wink together are a bit heavy handed. I’m still not entirely sure what made him give in as he had been resisting Wink for years. I was left wondering though whether it was all worth it given Wink had to work so hard to seduce him.
The novel’s strength is the way steampunk has been incorporated in and around a romance. We get passing references to all manner of mechanical devices and the mechanical men plot was genuinely interesting. I do think the cast of thousands could have been reduced as many just popped in to say hello, revealed a clue or recapped past events and then disappeared. This spoiled the pace a bit and drew attention away from both the romance and the mystery.
This was a fairly enjoyable read and there are enough recaps that you don’t have to read the others in the series if you don’t want to.