Beauty and the Clockwork Beast
When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.
Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?
Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?
By Amy, Submitted on 2016-09-14
Being the first Steampunk novel I have read, I was a little unsure just what was happening to begin with in this book. I couldn't get my head around the time period, yet there's seemingly power to light torches, lamps, gear driven carriages, airships, ray guns, something akin to text messages, robot people & horses... I'm a historical romance fan, and messing with that in a technological stance really put me off for the first 100 pages. Add that to the fact I despise vampire, werewolf books, to be honest I wasn't sure I wanted to keep reading. However, 'Beauty & the Clockwork Beast' took a major turn at that point, and I'm glad I was able to get past the oddities of this genre. This book is so beautifully written. The development of both the characters & their interactions with each other was so well done, that before long I was totally drawn in and lost in the story. The pace is constantly building, and there's enough action and drama to keep the pages turning. A very enjoyable read, leaving me excited to read more from this author.
Thank you to Shadow Mountain & Netgalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.
By Carol G, Submitted on 2016-08-26
I only bought this book because my wait for a library copy was too long. My guess as to who did what changed as Nancy introduced more reasons for various characters to seem guilty. I found this to be a very enjoyable read although the gory violence was a bit too much for me. I think I'll avoid "steam punk" from most other authors if this is a gentle version of the genre.
By Alexis Tanner, Submitted on 2016-08-23
This book is suspenseful, filled with mystery, but also has the proper romance aspect which I always love. I love the Victoria Era books and this one has the steampunk twist which adds a whole new dimension!
I do have to say, it is a little gory with the vampire stuff and the violent death of the sister is often revisited, so if you’re squeamish at all, you may not enjoy parts of this book. But it was interesting and I loved getting to know the characters throughout the book. If you’re looking for a proper romance steampunk mystery, then this is the book for you!
By Rachelle, Submitted on 2016-08-20
When I first started reading Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, it took me a minute to find my footing as I realized that maybe I didn't know steampunk very well. In essence, this book takes place in London, long ago but the steampunk part is that people have access to electricity in Tesla coils and many clockwork mechanisms that provide transportation, robots, and even airships (planes). Also, there are vampires and werewolves. Not what I was expecting at all from a typical proper romance and totally different from Nancy's earlier release, My Fair Gentleman, but this book was just as good. Once I recognized what continent/age I was supposed to be in, then I burned through this book.
This novel had everything I love in a great story. Lucy is an interesting character and a force to be reckoned with. I loved the interactions of her and Lord Miles Blackwell. I also loved the mystery throughout! It was fun to watch the romance unfold even as I paid attention to the clues that Allen left along the way. I liked the otherworldly connections and the drawback to one of my favorite fairy tales--Beauty and the Beast. Allen is an excellent writer and she's created another enchanting story that I highly recommend. If you haven't tried Steampunk before--don't let that scare you. This story has all the same classic underpinnings as a traditional proper romance novel.
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion which I've shared.
By Margaret, Submitted on 2016-08-19
From the first page to the last, I was completely swept away by this novel. Steampunk was new to me, and I found it quite imaginative and fun. The supernatural twist mixed with a good mystery made for an enthralling read. But oh the characters of Miles and Lucy and their romance; they truly made the story come alive and resonate with me. The author skillfully wove the circumstances around Miles so that the reader could understand and feel his despair. I was entranced with the development of the relationship between Miles and Lucy and watching Lucy lead Miles to hope and love was delightful. (Yes the waltz scene is swoon worthy) I loved how the author allowed us insight into both of the characters interpretation’s of events. The incorporation of the Beauty and the Beast story was completely a treat. Discovering the various correlations in settings, scenes and characters added an additional level of literary fun to the novel. I hope not only for a series with more of these great characters, but also hope that Miles and Lucy will be featured prominently again. This novel has earned a spot on my shelf for my favorite books, and will be one I return to often. Thank you Nancy Campbell Allen!
By m.may, Submitted on 2016-08-16
Highly enjoyable! This was my first steampunk read and the mixture of technology and Victorian elements was fun. I don't usually seek out romances but this book read more as a mystery with romantic elements, which was more to my taste. If you're looking for a fast-paced read with werewolves, vampires and strong female heroines, look no further. I recommend this.
By Melanie, Submitted on 2016-08-15
Lucy travels to Blackwell Manor to help her cousin Kate who has become ill. There have been recent, mysterious deaths of Clara, the late wife of Miles, the Lord of the manor, and his sister, Marie. There is a supposed curse that Lucy doesn't buy into, and Miles has secrets to protect. She and Miles work together to figure out what is really happening before something terrible happens to Kate.
I loved this book! I've read a few steampunk novels and have enjoyed them all so apparently it's a genre I enjoy reading. I loved how it was incorporated into this proper romance line. I loved reading about things I don't normally read about in this type of book--vampires, werewolves, ghosts and advanced technology in a Victorian setting. There was also mystery, suspense and romance, which I enjoy as well.
I was interested in this story from the beginning, but there came a point when I just couldn't put it down. Lucy is the smart, accomplished beauty and Miles is the beast. They don't hit it off at first but their relationship develops as they work together to figure out what is going on. There are twists and turns along the way to a satisfying ending. I enjoy reading books in this genre that follow the proven formula, but it was refreshing to read a book that was completely different. I hope there will be more to come!
I received a copy for an honest review. My opinion is 100% my own.
By Rachel Nordgren, Submitted on 2016-08-09
I absolutely love steampunk and was delighted to see a clean steampunk romance at Deseret Book. This book was well written, the pace of the story was very balanced. It kept the plot moving but also let you get an appreciation for the alternate world the characters were set in. Each character was thoughtfully written and had more depth than many others in this genre. I really hope that Nancy Campbell Allen makes this a series, she has one fan eagerly waiting the next installment. If you like intelligent, creative romance with a side of mystery and adventure, this is the book for you!
By Maria H., Submitted on 2016-08-08
What a perfect blend of a kaleidoscope of genres: Victorian, gothic, romance, paranormal, mystery, and steampunk! This was my introduction steampunk, and I loved it. Nancy Campbell Allen's writing is beautiful, the story gripping, the romance sweet. I especially enjoyed the paranormal and steampunk characteristics that added unique flavor to the story. An inventive retelling of Beauty and the Beast with shadows of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. It is certainly a novel I will recommend to my book club, friends, and anyone else who might listen to me, and one I nominated for a Whitney Award. Super fun. You don't want to miss this one!
By Tressa, Submitted on 2016-08-06
BEAUTY AND THE CLOCKWORK BEAST was such an entertaining mix of intrigue, danger, complex family relationships, and romance all set in a alternate historical England world. The complex characters and a plot that played off a Beauty and the Beast theme written in its own way made for a rather interesting tale. Those who enjoy Steampunk are sure to love this from beginning to end!
I simply adored the heroine, Lucy. She was intelligent, witty, charming, and loyal. I loved her heart and determination. Then there was Miles. He is your usual brooding gentleman, but not quite as he hides his own secret. He is a foreboding force, but also has a very strong sense of loyalty and a sharp mind. I loved him with all his faults and walls to protect his heart. My favorite parts of the story were with the two of them, especially when the occasions they meet are spontaneous. I also really liked the other characters and am hoping to see future books that will focus on them.
The plot was very evenly paced with a few spots of climax that steadily grew to the very dramatic end. There were a few places towards the end that I thought could have been worked out slightly better in a different way, but that would be the only thing that was slightly off for me. Everything was balanced well between the witty banter and dialogue, the array of emotions, a humorous touch here and there along with some definite sarcasm, the ongoing mystery of the recent deaths, and the blooming romance. There is a dancing scene that literally made me swoon and is one of the most romantic moments I've ever read. Makes me sigh just thinking about it.
In the end, was it what I wished for? Yes. If you like your books straightly historical with no paranormal or steampunk aspects, then this definitely won't be for you. However, if you're like me and enjoy these types of stories, you will thoroughly enjoy this one. I'm happily awaiting the next installment!
Content: Some violence, but clean.
Source: Purchased and received an ARC from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way.
By Lisa F, Submitted on 2016-08-06
I am impressed with this mash-up of genres. It's a steampunk/gothic/paranormal set in a very proper English time. People travel by horseless carriages with robotic servants. The future and the past collide in this engaging book!
I love the Proper Romance line of books. This is a welcome addition. I can't imagine the mind of Nancy Campbell Allen. She is very creative and knows how to tell a great story. The characters are fantastic, the setting is different in a good way, the pacing is excellent. Seriously, what more could I ask for in a book to read?
By Aimee Brown, Submitted on 2016-08-06
I have been anxiously waiting to read this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for awhile now, staring at me, begging to be read. :) I was so happy to finally settle in and get to read it. I've been so curious about it. This book is a combination of so many genres- steampunk, paranormal, mystery, romance. It really does have a Jane Eyre slash Beauty and the Beast feel to it. There is something dark and edgy about it while also being romantic and sweet. It's so hard to explain but I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like it!
This book is thick! Good and long. All the details are meaty and full of depth. I think I would have loved this book simply as a paranormal romance but the steampunk aspect brought in a whole new dimension. It was worked in seamlessly and made the whole story feel like something new and exciting. What a clever idea!
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. The pacing was good- especially in the second half of the book where things really pick up. I was compelled to continue reading and reluctant to put it down. What a fun adventure this book is! I hope I get more books like this- there are a few other characters in this book that definitely need their stories told.
Content: Some mild gore/violence. Clean!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
By Heidi G., Submitted on 2016-08-05
While I am not normally a big fan of werewolves and vampires, when I heard about this book I was intrigued. And I was not at all disappointed. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think my favorite parts were with Lucy and Miles as they got to know each other, but I also found the steampunk fantasy world that Allen created rather interesting. Lucy is my favorite kind of heroine, courageous and intelligence, more than willing to do what it takes to help those she loves. Which is of course why she ends up at Blackwell Manor in the first place. She arrives to help her cousin who is not feeling well and has recently married the heir to Blackwell Manor. But things turn out to be much more complicated than she expected, especially when she meets the lord of the manor who is called the ¨Beast of Blackwell Manor¨.
What Lucy does not expect however is the appearance of Miles´ sister as a ghost who clearly has an agenda that involves Lucy. Attacks by a vampire on herself as well as the secrets that Miles himself is keeping and Lucy wonders if she is in over her head. But as she starts to care for Miles and the man she sees beneath the gruff exterior, she is determined to find answers and solutions to the many problems she is encountering.
I enjoyed reading about the changes that Lucy brings to Miles rather dark world full of fears and burdens and sorrows. Lucy is not the kind to back down when faced with challenges which turns out to be a good thing. And I have to admit that I love the cover of the book, it beautifully depicts the characters and their personalities as well as the mechanical aspects of the story. I can easily recommend this book to those who enjoy a steampunk book with vampires, werewolves, and automotons all playing an important role in the story. The twists and turns make this an entertaining, unique version of Beauty and the Beast.
By Katie, Submitted on 2016-08-03
I've never read a steampunk novel before and I actually had no idea what that even meant. It's a type of science or speculative fiction that usually features fantasy or horror themes. How intriguing is this? Especially in a proper romance setting?
One of my favorite classic novels is Jane Eyre and one of my favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast, so just image my delight in discovering a way for these two favorites to mesh in a way that involves vampires and werewolves too. This story concept is so new and unique to me and completely captured my attention and I found myself furiously flipping through the pages to find out what could possibly happen next. I was enthralled by animals, servants, and parts of humans that had mechanical elements.
As for the characters, Lucy is a very no-nonsense kind of woman and works hard to find resolution for some of the issues plaguing society. She's very likable and deals with the paranormal in stride. Her cousin, Kate, has some mysterious issues and even in the midst of that, their camaraderie is very tender. Miles is scary to most, but his desire to solve the mysteries surrounding his estate throws him in with Lucy and the way they work together to figure things out is so sweet. I loved all of the characters, the relationships, and the way the story flows. The pathway of the different components just captured me, heart and soul. As always, with a book of this magnitude, I'm hoping for more.
Content: mild romance; mild violence (death, murders, attacks--nothing graphic). Clean!
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
By Becca, Submitted on 2016-08-03
I love re-tellings so much, when they are done well. This one is done well. Different! Plus, this is Beauty and the Beast. Does it get any better than that? Not in my opinion. This is one of my all time favorite fairy tales. What better story than seeing beyond what's outside and seeing what really matters.
This story is just that. Lucy arrives at the Blackwell Manor and has heard all the horror stories of the Lord of the manor. Not having met him yet, she only had to go off what every one else had told her about him.
Lucy was not there for the Lord of the manor though. She was there for her cousin Kate. Who is as close to her as a sister. Kate had been ill since being married and going to the Blackwell manor. Lucy is determined to find out what is ailing her and won't give up until she does.
Lucy finds that there is more going on in the manor than meets the eye. There is so much to this story. There are 'bots' that take care of the manor. There are forces outside of the "real" world that are in the manor. Miles Blackwell, Lord of the manor is not just a man.
Lucy, is a lovable and funny character from the very beginning. She is spunky, and one hard headed woman who knows what she wants. Love her.
There are so many elements to this book that just made me happy. I love the world that Allen brings to life in this book. I love the characters! Each one brings a new spin to the book. There are so many wonderful, cryptic, interesting, fantastic things happening in this book. It was exciting to read, and kept me interested from beginning to end, with a love story to boot. It doesn't get much better than that.
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2016-08-03
I had heard of Steampunk Romances but quite honestly I had to look it up to know just what they were. Here's what Wikipedia says they are: Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk may, therefore, be described as neo-Victorian. Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.
Knowing just what it was helped me quite a bit, the story feels old, yet Lucy is riding in an airplane at the beginning. And knowing a little bit about what Steampunk Romances would include made things a lot more clear for me later. For me, the bottom line is that this is a cute, clean, fun romance that is a lot different from the normal story line of romances that I've read before. And did I mention that this book is part of Shadow Mountain's Proper Romance Line???
I liked Lucy a lot. She's a powerful young woman making a name for herself as a botanist in what would have really been a man's world. She's plucky and fun. And also fiercely loyal. I loved the way she went to care for her cousin Kate and refused to leave until she figured out just what was wrong and helped her to be better. And the way she was with Miles was amazing too, when she figures out his secret, she refuses to believe ill of him, no matter the evidence against him.
Miles....I really liked Miles too. He's not looking for any kind of relationship, he knows that the curse he carries can be passed through the generations and he refuses to do that to his posterity. He was a true gentleman to Lucy, always looking out for her and I loved the way he believed her when she told him the crazy things that she had been seeing. His protective side was a sweet feature.
The plot of this one is fast moving and it's a bit crazy. There are all sorts of mythical creatures, ghosts, vampires, and even a werewolf, all mixed in with traditional 19th century society, wars and intrigue. I highly recommend this one and I'm hoping for more coming soon in the Proper Romance line!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
By Mindy Holt, Submitted on 2016-08-01
Where do I begin? I absolutely loved this book. Every page was a delight. I loved Miles' and Lucy's gradual relationship. I appreciated how Lucy held her own with the intimidating Miles. As they would get to know each other, I loved some of the tender moments that they shared. Actually, I loved all of them. Especially their dance in the ballroom and their time at the lodge. There is so many awesome goings on in this book too: curses, vampires, werewolves, and all of the steampunk/gothic stuff was so fun! Lucy was perfect and Miles was too. I instantly loved him. He was such a mystery and I enjoyed how Lucy broke through his layers. He is a wonderful leading man, so dark and brooding. Loved him! Kate, Jonathan, Marie, all the characters were amazing! I did have suspicions of who the villain was early on, but it did not spoil how much I enjoyed the book. I also wanted more of a certain werewolf. I'm hoping for some more books with these wonderful characters.
5 out of 5 stars. Well done, Nancy!
I received a paperback copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.