cover image Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

Nancy Campbell Allen. Shadow Mountain, $15.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-62972-175-0

Allen (My Fair Gentleman) jumps gracefully on to the supernatural Victorian bandwagon, keeping both the romance and the gore PG-rated in a steampunk setting. Her tale seamlessly combines family politics, ballroom dancing, and romantic swooning with airships, ray guns, and automatons, as well as scientifically verified vampires and werewolves. Lucy Pickett, whose research on ways to counter vampires is a priority for the Botanical Aid Society of London, visits Blackwell Manor to find a remedy for her cousin Kate, who’s usually “healthy as an ox” but has been taken ill since moving there with her new husband, the brother of the Earl of Blackwell. When the ghost of Marie, the late sister of the secretive earl, tries to communicate with Lucy, the earl takes her under his protection and his scrutiny. She’s terrified by the scar across his face and the rumors that he killed both Marie and his young wife, and yet Lucy finds him to be a kind confidant and an appealing suitor. Allen’s imagining of “Beauty and the Beast” as a supernatural period murder mystery is delightful at every turn. Agent: Pam Howell, D4EO. (Aug.)